I’ll take a cloud float
I’d like a root bier
Please sir, a manana split
I have become enamored with reading and writing haiku’s, as family, friends, and readers can patiently attest. I follow the guidance found in The Art Of Pausing, which I wrote about here, saying “…the theme of the book is pausing, but the way they put it all together is much more than that. These three combined – pausing, focusing on a sacred topic, and then writing – is now a spiritual discipline for me”.
And that continues. Most every day I write a haiku. They are ever so much better when I complete all three pieces – pause, focus, write – than when I dash something off that meets the haiku “form”.
I also try to read haikus regularly. Two excellent books I am reading are The Narrow Road To The Interior, by the famed 17th century haiku writer, Matsuo Bashō, and Haiku Mind, which has haikus by noted writers of haiku. The book was compiled by Patricia Donegan, who discusses each haiku and the usually famous writer who composed it.
I admit that reading haiku sounds like a dreary topic. It isn’t. Not for me anyway. Each haiku is very short, is packed with meaning, and is usually beautifully expressed. Most are very serious. However, I thought these two were fun to read:
the warbler poops
on the slender
Eaten alive by
lice and fleas—now the horse
beside my pillow pees
Who would have thunk that haiku would embrace scatological verse? And, in the case of Bashō’s, even rhyming fleas and pees? Oh my.
But then, plays on words, humor, and, most importantly, the mundane and ordinary parts of our lives is a good deal of, when we think about it, what gives life its richness. That quotidian, present-moment awareness is always unique while at the same time is always universal. Capturing both the essence of a mountain view and, equally, that of a dish-just-washed-and-dried is a quality that makes haiku so meaningful not only to me but for many others, over centuries.
Bashō, M. (1998). The Narrow Road To The Interior (S. Hamill, Trans.). Boulder, CO: Shambhala.
Donegan, P. (2008). Haiku mind : 108 poems to cultivate awareness and open your heart (1st ed.). Boston: Shambala : Distributed in the United States by Random House.
Valente, J., Quenon, P., & Bever, M. (2013). The art of pausing: meditations for the overworked and overwhelmed. Chicago, IL: ACTA Publications.
Photo was found and available in Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/29444537@N00/3829687926/