(reblog), haiga, haiku, photography

Clams in the Clouds

Two haiku (each inspired by a photo of clouds imitating clams) illustrate the synergy between poem and image in a modern haiga (with a photo as the image).  Haiku #2 uses a modern kigo (“abalone”).  I took the calm photo; Sue Ranscht took the dramatic one.
(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)

The cloud images in this post were in an earlier post (for a photography challenge) that emphasized synergy between pastel pink and green.  Now I am responding to a haiku challenge with emphasis on synergy between poem and image in a modern haiga (with a photo as the image).  Haiku #2 uses the modern kigo abalone.

To those who have not seen many nacreous clouds, the poems’ metaphors might seem far-fetched.  Presenting the photos along with the poems they inspired may reassure readers willing to trust that the photographers refrained from deceptive editing.  I took the calm photo; Sue Ranscht took the dramatic one.

IMG_2199_CSTC_less-blue_800x414

elliot-275a-s-t-ranscht_800x403

© Sue Ranscht | Space, Time, and Raspberries

Clams in the Clouds #1
|Serene clouds
|give mother-of-pearl
|to old eyes.
Clams in the Clouds #2
|Molten pewter clouds:
|some are tinted pink or green.
|Abalone shell.

birds, haiku, seasons

Sky Sights and Sky Sounds

Carpe Diem #1595 hawk (taka)

Sky Circles
|Riding the spring wind,
|hawks with still wings and shrill cries
|claim territory.

1805988 - juvenile red-shouldered hawk calling

© Steve Byland | 123RF Stock Photo

A lot happens in the sky.
Hawks stake claims.
Clouds sometimes imitate clams.

(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)
growing old, haiku, humor, philosophy

Old Age is a Mixed Bag

Yet again, classical literature says something complex and important, while leaving much for later generations to discover and say.  For now, I will shut up after 2 haiku.
(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #61
a new feature for the weekend … introduction

calls for Japanese-style poetry inspired by an excerpt from Plato.  (An excerpt from the excerpt appears below.)  Yet again, classical literature says something complex and important, while leaving much for later generations to discover and say.  For now, I will shut up after 2 haiku.

Plato-CDHK

“… the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life.”

“… when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many.”

“… for he who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.”

“… I rather suspect that people … think that old age sits lightly upon you, not because of your happy disposition, but because you are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter.”

Fond Memories
|Nostalgia for
|what never was (nor could have been):
|old man dreams of sex.
|
Still Standing
|Mellow curmudgeon
|shrugs off fate and stands proudly
|paradoxical.
haiku, history

Motion in Haiku: Another Surprise

Like still photos, many haiku capture a moment in time.  My first foray into capturing motion in haiku yielded 2 surprises.  Here comes another, in time for the centennial on 2018-11-11 of the armistice that ended the fighting in World War I.
– Gray button (upper left corner) reveals widgets, –
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –

Let’s start by summarizing the older surprises that I posted in response to a CDHK episode.  Credits for the images below are at the end of this post for readability.

The first surprise was that that so much motion could fit in a haiku:

Redemptive Trickle
|A shell exploded!
|Water slowly filled the hole
|and held the whole sky.

Of course, my haiku that is like a movie was inspired by this classic World War I haiku that is like a still photo:

© Maurice Betz
|A shell hole
|In its water
|Held the whole sky.

The second surprise was that I did not have a stable preference between these haiku.  Like someone viewing the classic ambiguous image that can be seen as a duck facing one way or as a rabbit facing the other, I flip-flopped between the still photo by Betz and the movie by me.  So did at least 2 readers of my old post.

Here is the new third surprise.  After writing yet another shell hole haiku, I finally have a stable preference.  My preferred haiku is like a movie that starts after the explosion:

Healing Trickle
|Water slowly filled
|the shell blast’s muddy crater.
|It held the whole sky.

Image Sources

Unable to find appropriate and affordable period images, I used contemporary images: a generic explosion and a puddle that looks much like the water-filled shell hole.  The puddle photo has been cropped to be more nearly square.

(reblog), flowers, haiku, photography

Calm, Cool, and CollectING

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

Carpe Diem’s Quest For A (New) Masterpiece
#3 the quest continues

My latest haiku came quickly when I saw a superb photo by Cee Neuner.  While I gave the haiku a title to make it intelligible w/o the photo, I also requested and received permission to share the photo in a post.

red-yellow-dahlia_bee

© Cee Neuner

Red and Yellow Dahlia
|Amid swirling flames,
|pollen and nectar beckon.
|Bee stays calm and cool.
haiku, photography

Sparkle Of Joy, From Water

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

Carpe Diem’s Sparkle Of Joy …
introduction and first “task”

outflow-closeup

Sound of Sunlight
|Rushing waters bring
|joy to those who hear them sing
|and see them sparkle.

Happy Heraclitus
|Life flows and splashes.
|No things are permanent and
|all things are precious.

haibun, haiku, photography

Rainbow Revisited

I found a splendid photo to illustrate a haiku about a rainbow in 2016.  Can I use the same photo for the same purpose w/o repeating myself?  Yes.  The photo is a gift that keeps on giving.
(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)

Carpe Diem #1410 Rainbow (short-haibun)

In response to an earlier CDHK rainbow prompt, I wrote a haiku and later found a splendid photo to illustrate it (and inspire some haibun prose).  Can I use the same photo here w/o repeating myself?  Yes.  The photo is a gift that keeps on giving; it has inspired a new haiku.

Out of Reach
|Hard fingers rise up,
|trying to grasp soft colors
|as the rainbow fades.

australian-rainbow_350x466

The image used here has been resized from a photo by Randy Olson with a termite mound in the foreground.
Prints can be bought.

Including the post title and credits, the response above has 98 words.

Buddhism, enlightenment, photography, tanka

Oneness Beyond Color

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

Carpe Diem #1378 Finally … Enlightenment

The Silk Road was a hard slog, as is the path to enlightenment.  It might help a little to consider some of the unobvious ways the images in this post are alike.

pink-ball-sym_833x833

pink-blossom_833x751

Oneness Beyond Color
|Glass ball and blossom:
|so unlike yet so alike.
|Enlightenment glows
|beyond breakage or wilting;
|beyond illusions of death.

haibun, haiku, humor

Sacrum Sutra

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

Can a haibun be a sutra?  Is the Kama Sutra anatomically correct?  We will see.

Carpe Diem #1369 Kamala

Climbing the Tree - crop

Climbing the Tree
(cropped)

The sculpted couple embrace, each standing on the left leg while hugging the other with the right leg.  She entrusts some of her weight to his strong stone hand and thigh; he entrusts some of his seed to her willing womb.

They have held their pose for something like a thousand years.  They ignore the admiring gaze of pilgrims who ponder the mysteries of life and love and whether flesh and sinew can hold that pose for anything like a thousand milliseconds.

Climbing the Tree
|She climbs his body
|as a tree that burns with lust
|(and lower-back pain).

ethics, haiku, humor, language, music, oversimplify

Be Precise, But Keep It Real

I am big on precise language.  Why am I so damn mellow about whether a poem is a haiku?  The answer hints at bigger things (like reconciling polished theory with rough-hewn reality), but there will also be a few jokes.
(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)

Yes, there are short poems that are not haiku.  Limericks are not haiku.  Googling «one word poem» yielded more hits than I expected (and infinitely more than I would like).  U can read about one that made national news here.  One word poems are not haiku.  (As candidates for a one word poem about one word poetry, words like [prank] and [scam] come to mind.)  On the other hand, trying to say exactly what is a haiku is a lot harder than it seems to many people.  It is also a lot less important, and we should be thankful for small blessings.

A list of several common characteristics of haiku is a good starting point as a tentative definition.  Such a list can be good for introducing people to haiku.  Whether it should be carved in stone is another question.

Here is a plausible list of things one might say about a short poem in English, such that the poem “should” only be called a haiku if they are all true.

  1. It does not rhyme.
  2. It has 3 lines, with a total of 17 syllables distributed 5-7-5.
  3. It includes some seasonal reference.
  4. It includes a poignant relationship between nature and humanity.

I got this particular list from a thoughtful comment by Sue Ranscht on a post with a 3-5-3 haiku.  Amicably and implicitly, the comment posed the question that starts this post.  It deserves an amicable (but explicit) reply.

§1: How Do I List Thee?

Let me count the ways.  Hmmm.  Do I have enough fingers?

There is a downside to defining the word [haiku] in a way that excludes much of what the best haiku poets actually write and much of what the Haiku Society of America considers to be a haiku.  What are we to call that stuff?

Jane Reichhold (1937-2016) was among the many eminent haiku poets who do not adhere to our 4-item list.  She was also an advocate (so am I) of haiku with a characteristic that is not in that list: juxtaposing 2 contrasting images (rensô in Japanese).  Rather than import yet another Japanese word into English, she wrote about “fragment and phrase” as parts of a haiku, in an insightful essay that was nicely formatted in a CDHK episode.  The juxtaposition may seem incongruous at first, and much of the fun comes from realizing how it does make sense.  Sometimes one part clarifies the other.  Sometimes the fragment (the shorter part) is the punch line of a joke set up by the phrase, as in the essay’s clever classic

roasting_veg_chkn_800x575

Haiku © Jane Reichold superimposed on
Photo © Vladlena Azima | ShutterStock

Another criterion not in our 4-item list is interchangeability of lines 1 and 3.  While Jane did not advocate interchangeability (neither do I), it matters to some people.  Should we have a 6-item list?  There is no need to consider here the whole multitude of criteria that are sometimes important to some people.  There is no need to try wriggling out of the contradictions between some of these criteria.  This section’s takeaway is simply that there is no single authoritative list.  Do U find that conclusion stressful?  Maybe a musical interlude will help.

§2: Musical Interlude

Back in 1800, Viennese concert-goers knew what a symphony was, with or w/o knowing much music theory.  A symphony was an orchestral composition with 4 movements.  Movement #1 might have a short slow introduction; otherwise, movements #1 and #4 were both at a brisk pace.  Movement #2 was slower; movement #3 was a minuet at an intermediate pace.  Performing the whole thing took a while, but well under an hour.  And so on.  That was before Beethoven began shredding the dictionary.

Did anybody abuse the new freedom by writing schlock that was long and loud?  Of course.  But some composers crafted some beautiful and enduring symphonies with great care and skill.  Works like Dvořák’s From the New World are classics, tho in various ways they are not classical.

Saying that something is “a symphony” no longer says much about its length or layout.  With no claim that they are all great symphonies, here are a few examples of the diversity.

  • We have symphonies with less than 4 movements (Hovhaness; Schubert).  More movements were apparently intended for Schubert’s “unfinished” symphony, but it is deservedly popular as is.
  • We have a short strings-only symphony that does have 4 movements, but the 2 (not 1!) based on dance forms are not minuets (Britten).
  • We have humongous symphonies with vocal parts (Beethoven; Mahler).

And so on.

Maybe it would be nice if the word [symphony] had a more specific meaning, but we get by.  When Prokofiev revisited the old layout from before 1800, he did not claim to be writing the first “real” symphony in decades.  He just wrote his Classical Symphony. The title’s meaning is clear enough.

§3: Back to Haiku

I wish those who advocate one of the narrower concepts of haiku would imitate Prokofiev.  Speak of “classical” haiku or (better still) “traditional” haiku.  Say which of the various traditions U have in mind.  Want to make a discussion of a single tradition flow more smoothly by temporarily restricting the word [haiku] to that tradition?  That might work, but it is hard to avoid any hint of permanently excluding other traditions in other discussions.  Want to claim that working within your favored tradition tends to help people write good haiku?  OK.  I may well agree, unless U go on to claim that all haiku (or all good ones) are necessarily in that one tradition.  Ain’t so.

Most of my own haiku (and many that I admire by others) do comply with at least 2 items in our 4-item list.  Full compliance is common but far from universal.  Want to be careful and focused when writing haiku?  Pay serious attention to a list like this.  But don’t let the tail wag the dog.

§4: Leery of Labels

The 6-item list briefly contemplated at the end of §1 is much like the 7-item list of rules that was actually used in a challenging CDHK episode.  The main difference between the lists is in whether rhymes or words referencing the poet (like [I] or [dunno]) are forbidden.  Neither is common in haiku; both do occur.

I responded to the challenge with a cheekily titled but fully compliant haiku (This Haiku Is Kosher), followed by one that breaks a few of the rules (Not Quite Kosher).  Which rules?  In the unlikely event that anybody cared, I could say.  As it happens, my Not Quite Kosher is a wry lament (about crediting an image illustrating This Haiku Is Kosher).  The title’s double meaning would be lost if it somehow specified which rules in the 7-item list were being broken.

zen-frog

Not Quite Kosher
|Zen frog bronze sculpture
|(credit lost, like casting wax).
|Dunno who to thank.

Suppose we want to discuss partial compliance with a list of rules in some detail.  Would it be helpful to have a noun as a 1-word label to pin on my partially compliant haiku, so as to indicate exactly which rules it obeys?  Not really.  With 4 rules we would need 16 nouns.  That would be burdensome.  With 6 (or more) rules, we would need an absurd 64 (or more) nouns.  Better to just say what happens with each rule, if there is any need to say it.

Maybe a single noun for obeying all the rules would still be helpful?  No, it is better to just plop a convenient adjective (like [classical] or [compliant] or [kosher] or [traditional]) in front of good old [haiku].  Remembering which rules are relevant at the moment is enough of a cognitive load.

A cluttered vocabulary is not the only downside of a profusion of special nouns, one for full compliance with each of several lists of rules.  People tend to confuse pinning a fancy label on something with understanding it.  They also tend to assume that labels are mutually exclusive.  When the recipients of labels are other people, the results can be nasty.

§5: Takeaway

Tho willing to break the 5-7-5 rule, I obey it more than might be expected of somebody who knows about its origin in a translation error.  I am especially respectful of 5-7-5 when I write an aphoristic haiku (as a zingy summary of some nerdy philosophizing) rather than a moment-in-nature haiku.  With a linebreak after the comma, this post’s title could be a 2-line aphoristic haiku.  (Yes, there are 2-line haiku.)  Maybe a 5-7-5 aphoristic haiku will reinforce the point.

Precision < Accuracy
|Speaking precisely
|is great, if we speak about
|what is really there.

flowers, haiku, photography

Elegy in 3-5-3

Basho (1644-1694) mourned the death of his friend and teacher Tando with a beautiful sad haiku.  A CDHK episode calls for variations on this theme.  Mine is an elegy for Tando.
(BTW, the [Menu] button atop the vertical black bar reveals the widgets.)

Basho (1644-1694) mourned the death of his friend and teacher Tando with a beautiful sad haiku:

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
|falling to the ground
|a flower closer to the root
|bidding farewell

Chèvrefeuille presents his own beautiful variation on this sad theme in the CDHK episode

Carpe Diem Weekend-meditation #14 Revise That Haiku

and challenges readers to “revise” Basho’s haiku in the same spirit:

© Chèvrefeuille
|tears flow
|falling to the ground
|autumn leaves

My response honors Tando’s influence on Basho (and hence on countless haiku poets) with imagery like Basho’s but a change in the metaphorical correspondence between the 2 people and some parts of flowering plants.  As he weeps, Basho also resolves to carry on.

Elegy for Tando
|Flowers fall,
|but seeds will ripen.
|Some will sprout.

Seedling_321x231_Basho_320x231_opq-62_321x215

enlightenment, haibun, haiku, history, photography, seasons

Oh Come, All Fibo-ku

An old Xmas lighting tradition defies a darkness worse than long nights.  I honor it with my lights and with a fibo-ku (a haiku using the Fibonacci series rather than 5-7-5 for syllable counts).

My response to

Carpe Diem Weekend-Meditation #10
Fibo-ku winter time

could be called a “fibo-bun” because it is like a haibun but has syllable counts from the Fibonacci sequence in the haiku part.

Several cultures have responded to the long nights of winter with festivals or structures celebrating light at roughly the time of the solstice.  While not quite old enough to have personal memories of Stone Age passage tombs aligned with the sunrise (on a few of the several days that amounted to the solstice with Stone Age time-keeping), I do remember multicolored Hanukkah candles and the cheerful chiaroscuro of multicolored Xmas lights draped over trees and large shrubs.

multi-vert_800x1116
Nowadays I see mostly different kinds of Xmas lights.  Some people set out ugly jumbles of inflated Santas and other symbols of the gifting frenzy; others outline their houses with harshly uniform white lights.  But some still carry forward the old Xmas lighting tradition (with LED-s now).  And the glorious vocal music of Hanukkah and Xmas still transcends the literal meanings of the verses (2 of which inspired my titles here).

Darkness worse than long nights and garish decorations hangs heavy in today’s air.  Maybe this darkness will also recede.  My lights are up.

Yet in the Darkness Shineth
|Red,
|green,
|blue, and
|yellow lights:
|multicultural
|winter solstice celebration
|defies dark tribal hatred to sing of love and light.

multi-square_800x669

– Gray button (upper left corner) reveals widgets, –
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –
haiku, humor

Multitasking

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

A recent CDHK episode called for experimental haiku in response to a specific image.  Mine goes 5-4-5.  Maybe 3 syllables are languishing on the other side of the fence.

« Imagination Without Limits at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai »

chains-new-logo-tan-renga

Bidirectional Barrier
|Keep in or keep out?
|Locked gates do both.
|Is that what U want?