haiku, history, humor, politics

What Luther Did Before Nailing

Did U ever wonder how an outraged monk could be like a frightened squid while being quite unlike the squid in a closely related way?  Neither did I.  The answer hit me before the question.
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The answer hit me while I pondered an intriguing juxtaposition in

Haiku Poems: Grip (For Samantha) | Poet Rummager

that inspired me to write a haiku:

Squids and Scribblers
|Squids squirt ink to flee.
|Writers also (sometimes), but
|often to confront.

• Image from © Brad Scot Lark | ShutterStock
• Image cropped from © Michele Paccione | ShutterStock

Long after Martin Luther’s time, fundamental institutions have yet again strayed from their missions and been corrupted.  Of course, people write (and mesh their words with images) very differently now.  Writers depend on the media (rather than a trip to the hardware store) to nail things to doors.  But if U listen carefully, U can still hear hammering.

2017-09-22

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haiku, math, photography, tanka

Willing to Muddle Thru

This post muddles thru the abstract/concrete conflict with a mostly abstract tanka inspired by the mostly concrete poetry in 2 posts by others.  At least in visual art, the distinction between abstract and concrete is somewhat muddled anyway (and not just because of photography).
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curtain-complex

Like the conflict between living in the moment and planning for the future, abstract/concrete (or general/specific) is a conflict that can only be managed, not avoided or resolved.  Trying to be 100% one or the other does not work.  We must muddle thru, preferably with awareness that what works for one person at one time will not work for all people at all times.  This post muddles thru the abstract/concrete conflict with a mostly abstract tanka inspired by excerpts from the mostly concrete poetry in 2 posts by others.

Consider the first of 4 stanzas posted in {underground (20170523)}:

© Crow
i have learned the hard way
that just because something
has been buried does not mean
it’s dead

It could stand alone as a fine short poem.  It also inspired the fourth of 7 short stanzas posted (along with an interesting biographical sketch of the 17-th century painter Caravaggio) in {Caravaggio Dreams}:

© Poet Rummager
Do you not see what I’ve buried deep,
has dug itself out to find me?

Maybe it’s because of my math background that I felt these excerpts were more powerful standing alone than in their original contexts, with concrete details about zombie cannibals and Norse gods (Crow) and a dream encounter with Caravaggio (Poet Rummager).  While I do prefer cremation to internment and do appreciate Caravaggio’s pioneering of expressive chiaroscuro, I found all those details distracting.  I was moved by the quoted stanzas despite what went with them.

One of the virtues of haiku poetry is that there is scant room for anything irrelevant, so I tried putting my takeaway into a haiku.  But I found that format a little too restrictive.  What happened after whatever was buried deep had dug itself out?  My haiku left open the possibility that it might have just toddled happily away, w/o the ominous implications of the first line from Crow’s stanza and the last 3 words from Poet Rummager’s stanza.  Wanting my poetry to be forthrightly ominous rather than ambiguous, I extended the abstract haiku to a tanka with (as it happens) concrete imagery in the 2 added lines.

Empty Grave
I buried something
that was not already dead.
It dug itself out.
~ ~ ~ ~
It shook like a wet dog and
followed my scent to find me.

it-dug-itself-out

© Doddis | Dreamstime.com

Tho a uniform level of abstraction might be nice, I can live with the muddle.  At least in visual art, the distinction between abstract and concrete is somewhat muddled anyway (and not just because of photography).

curtain-simple

(reblog), haiga, haiku

Five Haiku Poems: Balance

Better late than never, I realized that I should reblog the result of my first (and very pleasant!) collaboration with Poet Rummager on my own blog.  As usual, I copy/paste/tweak HTML to get more control than the perfunctory [Reblog] button provides.  My wheels turn slowly, but they do turn and do give me a nice ride.
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From
Five Haiku Poems: Balance | Poet Rummager:

Five Haiku Poems: Balance

Image by Jiang Daohua | Dreamstime.com

untitled

Nobody who is
always gloomy can stay sane.
Set your laughter free.

Allow happiness
to handspring into your grin –
spreading joy within.

Nobody who is
always happy can be sane.
Let your tears flow, too.

Allow the sadness
to somersault down your face.
Tumbling tears you’ll taste.

Staying on the beam
is a challenge, unless you’re
a world class gymnast.

Haiku poetry by Mellow Curmudgeon and Poet Rummager

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haiku, history, seasons

Winter Waiting

However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history.  Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable.  Like the beavers in my haiku, those who prepare can often endure.
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A Google image search led to the images in this post; clicking on them will jump to the source credits at the end.  The haiku in this post is my response to

Carpe Diem Universal Jane #8 gathering clouds

with special thanks to one of Jane’s haiku about winter:

© Jane Reichold
|gathering clouds
|heavy and dark with holding
|unfallen flakes

beaver-outside-harlan_778x519

Quiet Endurance
|Cold. Pond iced over.
|Silent snow on tomb-like mound.
|Beavers wait it out.

beaver-inside_778x404

However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history.  Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable.  Like beavers, those who prepare can often endure.  Too bad history is not like that.

Sources

I wrote the haiku while commenting on a wintry post by Poet Rummager that I liked.  The post did not mention snow or beavers, but inspiration is quirky.  Tho I liked my haiku enough to post it all by itself, I decided to wait until I had found images that would clarify it for readers unfamiliar with the way beavers wait out winter in their lodges.  Those who would like to see more detail can find it on a very readable webpage that was created for course requirements at Hamilton College.

The photo of the outside of a lodge in winter is from a well-illustrated post by Harlan Schwartz on the Canadian Canoe Routes website.  The photo was shared on PhotoBucket and downloaded from there.

The drawing of the inside of a lodge in winter is from the book Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do by Mike Storey (Nature Knows Best Books, 2006).  The drawing was reproduced in a very positive online review by Paul Grondahl and downloaded from there.

(reblog), enlightenment, haibun, haiku

Invictus in 5-7-5

As there is already more than enough grimness in the real world, I usually dislike grim art.  The haiku by Poet Rummager that is effectively reblogged below is one that I admire despite its grimness.

An Escape | Poet Rummager

At her throat, he pressed
The knife and told her to strip
She leaned on the blade

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In response to Carpe Diem Utabukuro #12, I admire Poet Rummager’s haiku for 3 reasons.

  1.  It is so well-crafted.
  2.  It pushes the envelope of haiku subject matter.
  3.  It honors an unflinching spirit, as in William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus.

Whether #1 also applies to my own grim haiku is for others to say; I do have #2 and #3.

Edge of Enlightenment
|Behold the abyss
|without flinching.  If you can,
|then you are at peace.

UrbanAbyss_512845-800x600

© Lucas Surtin

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