haiku, humor

Then and Now

From a CDHK challenge: «… create a haiku with the … “baransu” (balance) … technique … through association on the separated lines of the haiku.»  The challenge goes on to illustrate how an association with one of the ideas in each line can inspire the next line.  (Of course, it is also good to have some unexpected twists between lines.)  Here are two balanced haiku for an unbalanced world, with pivotal word(s) highlighted.
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Carpe Diem Exploring The Beauty Of Haiku #1828 Baransu (balance)

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Pilgrim Then
|Shinto shrine ritual:
|wash hands before entering.
|Predates pandemic.

A ritual to purify the pilgrim. In Japanese, it's called

Carrier Now
|He rants with no mask.
|Virus-laden spit may fly
|beyond two meters.

8798951 - jet aircraft over the sea

Hmmm.  Now spit can fly beyond two megameters.

Image Credits

© David Carillet | 123RF Stock Photo

© leodaphne | 123RF Stock Photo

© farang | 123RF Stock Photo

 

birds, haiku, photography

Light Show

The weather is warm and will soon be hot, so I leave my camera behind when I smuggle in a quick walk between chores.  As Murphy’s Law predicts, I see something I want to photograph.  While the scene itself is common enough, the way light caroms off part of it (and then to me) is not.  Oh well, for now I can write a haiku.  Maybe later I can get an image close to what I see?
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Red-winged Blackbird
|Sun shines. Bird mutters.
|Perched on power line, flicks tail.
|Day-Glo epaulets.

Hmmm.  Buy a download of a promising large image (6750×4500 pixels):

© Steve Byland | 123RF Stock Photo

Rotate it.  Crop tightly (down to 635×912).  Boost saturation and visual contrast.  Yes, the result is like the red and gold on black that I saw when the light was just right:

16607712 - male red-winged blackbird (agelaius phoeniceus) perched

Sometimes it takes a good deal of editing to tell the truth.

growing old, haiku, photography, tanka

Going Gray?

Some photos need color, some are better in grayscale (aka “black and white”), and many are good either way.  Here are some examples and a tanka that touches on the symbolism of color in general.  Visit the links to see more examples.
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dark-branches_rot+8.1_crop_sat+23_tweak_sat-blu+13_840x1152

Bare Branches
|Some go to grayscale
|when form is “all” that matters.
|I keep azure skies.
|My world will gray soon enough.
|I keep color and press on.

If somebody chooses to emphasize form and texture in a photo of bare branches by going to grayscale, I am likely to disagree with (but respect) that choice.  So far, I have always wanted to keep color in my own photos, often with minor adjustments in my photo editor.  Here are some examples where grayscale would be goofy:

Click on a thumbnail to see the full image in another tab.

While I have no qualms about really needing color in most of my own photos, there is more to be said about the ways various photographers have used color or grayscale.  Some examples follow.

A somber poem with grayness as a metaphor has been illustrated by a photo of a mostly gray scene.  But it is a color photo, and rightly so.  The subtle color is a reminder that the grayness is there in the scene, not an artifact of how the image is displayed.

Of course, I admire the photographic pioneers whose images were compelling despite then-obligatory grayscale.  Some classic photos are best left in grayscale anyway, and contemporary photographers may choose partial desaturation.  There are even a few photos that benefit from going all the way to true black and white, where every pixel is either pitch black or stark white.  Scroll down from the header image in Choices to see an example.

haiku, photography

She Giggled

I am not just being ornery when I avoid common subjects for haiku or photos.  Seldom do I see a common subject in a context that tickles my muse with the possibility that I might say something not already said many times, often better than I can say it anyway.  On 2020-04-28, my muse giggled at the sight of a popular haiku subject displayed with a cheerful color combination that is special to me.
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Seen on Green
|Swaying in light wind,
|branches only seem to weep.
|Pink cherry blossoms.

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flowers, haiku, photography

Haiga with Several Time Scales

Haiku poems commonly deal with events on short time scales.  In a split second, the frog jumps into the pond.  In minutes, the sunset fades.  In days, the cherry blossoms fall.  How about decades?  How about millennia?  They can show up too, along with the split second that a camera’s shutter is open.
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mums-rock_840x674

Sunlit Moment
|Mums are good silk fakes.
|Rock is real and will outlast
|both mums and viewer.

rock_rain-splats_glow_800x582
Dunno why the WordPress algorithm for choosing “Related” posts missed the one that is by far the most closely related: Weather’s Works.

 

food, haiku, photography

I Dig This Challenge

Photographer-poet Patrick Jennings posts a weekly challenge to create something inspired by one of his photos and a single word.  Challenge #219 is posted with a photo and an appropriate haiku (using the challenge word “dig”).  Fortunately for me, it is OK to reuse Patrick’s splendid image in a haiga with my own haiku.
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clam-diggers-mendocino_840x435

© Patrick Jennings | Dig ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #219

Low Tide at Seaside Creek Beach
|To dig for clams is why
|we are here, beneath this sky.
|No clams?  No problem!

Two Cheers 😀 😀

The first is for anybody who noticed that changing the haiku’s initial line

To dig for clams … ⇒ Clam digging …

would make the haiku comply with the 5-7-5 rule.  The second is for anybody who noticed that the version of the initial line with 6 syllables has a better rhythm.  The actual editing change was from 5 syllables to 6.  Does that seem like an odd direction to move?

The outside story says that a haiku “is” a 3-line poem in blank verse with syllable counts 5, 7, and 5.  While this story is oversimplified, it is still a good place to start.  (Some haiku poets disagree.)  The inside story is more complex.  Various poets bend or break various rules at various times for various (and often good) reasons.  Tho messier, the inside story is ultimately the better one.  Just ask the clam digger who went home with an empty bucket but a full heart.

 

haiku, photography, serendipity

Between Seasons in 2019

Where I live, 11-19 is usually too late for fall colors and too early for snowflakes.  Recent past and near future met when Fortune smiled on an out-of-season CDHK challenge posted 2019-11-14.
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Carpe Diem #1781 The Quest For A New Masterpiece Continues … colorful autumn

garden-flag-snow_840x1126

Between Seasons #1
|Lost autumn colors,
|but garden flag remembers.
|Snow on power lines.

power-lines-snow_840x721

The rules and examples for this challenge allow marking the cut with punctuation and tweaking the cut when swapping the initial and final lines.  Let’s do that.

power-lines-snow_840x721

Between Seasons #2
|Snow on power lines.
|But garden flag remembers
|lost autumn colors.

garden-flag-snow_840x1126

haiku, humor, photography

Fall Frolic

October is Chores Can Wait Month.  I took a short walk that inspired a haiku, but the chore gremlins got their revenge when the haiku generated yet another chore.  That’s OK.  Writing about the nuts and bolts of haiku beats raking leaves.
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Fall Frolic #1
|Dancing on the breeze,
|ignorant of gravity:
|red leaf in blue sky.

Nuts and Bolts

My haiku has “#1” in its title to distinguish it from a similar haiku Fall Frolic #2.  I prefer #1.  Why bother with #2 at all?  The answer to that question helps answer some others.

Fall Frolic #1 implicitly poses a riddle, then provides the answer.  Who is the ignorant dancer?  More subtly, why is (s)he said to be dancing “on” (not “in” or “with”) the breeze?  The basic structure is the same as in Jane Reichold’s classic

roasting_veg_chkn_800x575

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

Now consider swapping the initial and final lines of my riddle haiku:

Fall Frolic #2
|Red leaf in blue sky,
|ignorant of gravity:
|dancing on the breeze.

While #2 describes the same scene #1, it lacks the suspense and resolution of the riddle structure.  While both versions work, #1 works better.  I still owe U an explanation: why bother with #2 at all?

The first draft for what eventually became #1 had initial and final lines that were very close to the corresponding lines in #2.  The middle line had an entirely different way of hinting that the leaf’s freedom is a temporary illusion, between being stuck on the tree and stuck on the ground.  The first draft’s hint would have been too obscure w/o either an appropriate picture or the explicit scene setting done by the initial line in #2.

Already unhappy with the first draft’s middle line, I swapped initial and final lines on a whim.  The resulting riddle structure was motivation to get serious about clarifying the middle line.

Some haiku poets strive to have the initial and final lines be interchangeable.  Unless I am responding to a challenge calling for haiku that work just as well when the initial and final lines are swapped, I usually do not consider swapping.  Too gimmicky and arcane.  But a swap while revising might help answer the eternal writers’ questions

Am I saying what I want to say?

Am I saying it clearly?

red-leaf_blue-2_haiku-144_840x465

 

haiku, humor, photography

Gray Squirrel

North American gray squirrels are famously good at raiding “squirrel-proof” bird feeders.  At best, the obstacles persuade most squirrels to look elsewhere (most of the time).  Dunno about Japanese squirrels, but they do have a tradition to uphold.
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Carpe Diem #1765 Squirrel …

squirrel_840x636

Gurērisu
|Jump! Grab! Swing hips up!
|Nimble ninja hogs the seeds.
|Birds have a long wait.

haiku, humor

And So It Goes

When I posted an ant haiku in 2016, I had no appropriate image and did not know the Japanese word [ensō].  My response to a CDHK prompt for an ant haiku embellishes the haiku from 2016 with a new image based on a freehand circle.  Ensō it goes.
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Carpe Diem #1764 Ants …

smirking-ant_840x811

Kiss Overlay © OlyaTropinina | 123RF Stock Photo

Mission Accomplished?
|Ant with wings staggers,
|then dies. Did I see him smirk?
|Had he banged a queen?

haiku, humor, philosophy, politics

Vampire Bunny at a Haiku Party

Follow tradition or push the envelope?  Normal or weird?  (Normalcy spiked with weirdness?)  Haiku or senryu?  This crowd does not fret about simplistic dichotomies.  Let’s get some saké and join the party.
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Haiku poems often want (and sometimes need) to interact with images or prose, as in haiga or haibun.  Here is a gathering of ten haiku that could stand alone if they had to.  (Some would rather not.)  They have been invited to come here and interact with just each other, while enjoying some good saké (or whatever).

momokawa_crop_vampire-bunny_840x684

Overlay © Incognito – Russian Federation | 123RF Stock Photo

A haiku inspired by an image may or may not speak to readers who have not seen the image.  It’s hard for the writer to make this call objectively.  That’s OK.  As Stephen Jay Gould often told readers of his articles in Natural History, perfect objectivity is a myth anyway.  (The path from my raw data to “facts” that matter to me depends on my cultural baggage and personal experience.)  Rather than pretend that my judgement calls are objective, I try to compensate for my biases.  In particular, some of my haiku were not invited to the party because they might be too dependent on their inspirations to stand alone.  That’s OK too.  Unlike me, they are not compulsively self-reliant.

Like some of the other guests, October was originally posted in a haiga or haibun context.  That’s why the title it wears as a name tag is also a link.  (When a pale yellow background indicates that several such guests arrived together from the same place, only one of them has a link.)  Click on a link to see the guest(s) interact with an image or some prose that adds to the experience of the haiku.

Seen in Spring
|Kelly green moss on
|rocks near the clear quiet stream
|with water striders
 
|October
|Bright sun and cool air;
|azure skies and pumpkin pies.
|Leaves fall in glory.
 


Who Miscounted?
|This so-called “haiku”
|ignores five-seven-five, so
|it’s not a haiku.

 
|Deciduous
|Lifeless?  No, leafless.
|Trees hold their breath all winter,
|exhale leaves in spring.
 


This is Not Apollo 13
|Is failure an option?
|No, it is a given.
|But we will still try.
 
|No Pots of Gold
|Seek ends of rainbows.
|You will not find them? Okay.
|The quest is enough.
 


Fiscal Responsibility
|Debts rise; incomes fall.
|Hard times demand bold action:
|tax cuts for the rich!
 
|Seize the Breeze
|Helicopter seeds
|fall from maples and travel
|far enough, this once.
 


What’s for Lunch?
|Mosquitoes in flight
|are seen as meat on the hoof
|by a dragonfly.
 
|Vampire Bunny
|With coprophagy
|as the alternative,
|you might suck blood too.
 

(reblog), 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.
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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.

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© 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.

haiku, love, photography, serendipity

Lovers Watching a Sunset

A haiku that began as part of a comment on a post by Sieglinglungenlied gets a title and a life of its own.  An outstanding sunset photo by Dan Hahn complements the haiku to form a haiga.
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This post’s haiku began as part of my comment on Sieglinglungenlied’s beautiful and creative post Partners, Flying through Clouds.  I realized later that the haiku could live outside the comment with an appropriate title.  (I like titles for haiku anyway.)  Thank U, Sieglinglungenlied.  Thanks are also owed to photographer Dan Hahn, with details at the end of this post.

lovers+at+sunset

Lovers Watching a Sunset
 The clouds burn yellow,
 smolder red, and fade to gray.
 The love keeps burning.

Image Source

It would have been nice to illustrate the poetry with a series of 3 images that show the same clouds at successive stages of a sunset: yellow; red; gray.  Even if I shoot such a series in the future, I would never be able to get a series that includes the lovers.  So I did an image search, found many fine images of sunsets being watched by lovers, and found an outstanding one by Dan Hahn that showed all 3 color stages, in different clouds at the same moment.  Bingo.

The image as used in this post has been cropped to emphasize the clouds; U can see the original in full glory by clicking on the link in item #1 below.  Haiku lovers will also enjoy item #2, and there are other treasures on Dan Hahn’s website.  Prints can be bought.

  1. Lovers at Sunset in the Cape Cod gallery
  2. Dawn Zen in the Seasons gallery