Haiku On A Floe

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Ever since I can remember I have loved and took solace in nature. Old Mama Nature—mercurial agitator of habit, complacency, inane laws passed by men in loud quotidian rooms; provider of an herbal path to equilibrium; architecture of our dreams; favorite target of money-worshiping draconian pyromaniacs and publishers of tabloid waste good only for feeding dumpster fires. Nature belongs to itself. That is how the story ends, will end, ended. Overnight from February 12 to 13 (2019) in Canada’s capital, nature proved once again that it holds the key to our common narrative and eats heirs apparent for dinner, storming down upwards of 30 centimeters (roughly 12 inches) of snow. By the time I woke mid-week the neighborhood had turned into an ice cream cake. I was shocked on it all grinning.

The haiku is the perfect paean to nature. Spontaneous, brusque, this Japanese verse form is marked by a “cutting word” (kireji) which creates juxtaposition of two distinct natural images. This methinks reflects the relationship we have with the world these images evoke—dissatisfied hearts torn between quest for deep(er(er)) knowledge of said world and silent acknowledgement of its mysteries. I personally believe knowledge should never be quantified, but I digress. The haiku couldn’t be further from me, my subjectivity, ego; it is composed on condition that we “step out of ourselves” so to speak, become the neutral observer of our surroundings. It is the purest representation of humans tapping into free poezja¹ energy reservoir, no self-righteous conceits exhausting epithets that reinforce basic two-dimensional binary-coded understanding of the life experience. OK, big breath.

below: Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

And so with Old Ma’s fluffy crystallized tears peppering (and ultimately burying) the main streets, promenades, lawns, awnings, automobiles and discarded local gazettes wrapped around windshield wiper blades², I set my indoors mind on writing a series of haiku as token of appreciation for the organic beauty of the planet in state of bliss winter blues. Here’s what I conjured up...


Note: Some of the following haiku are subtly influenced by senryu.

I

oppressive winter sun
on closed eye—for a moment
tranquilizing

II

armageddon
chalk white blisters
pulping turfs

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III

faint howls
fragmented—gutsy hens face off
against hazardous gusts

IV

graceful snowy curves
unscathed—the yearning
of rivers, made solid

V

coffee cold
the heater’s whir
conversations on a computer

VI

coats in plastic
mournfully the family
zips

VII

cicadas: lads in gentry
trolley the wet moon
catching kittens

VIII

ice road
skates carve glaciers
near the grocery

IX

rusty ploughs brighten
the block: tidal wave
scooped out from a star

X

blizzard
the last bus crammed
with restless feet

 

 

¹ The Polish word for poetry (my family is from Poland). Used here to illustrate how this “free energy reservoir” inherent in nature around us (a notion I tend to associate with that of poetry) is equally accessible to us all, every language ours to learn if we desire. I dig the Haitian Creole spelling—pwezi.

² This image of debris and disrepair is nice. I’ve always relished travelling by train, long aimless walks, so it brings me joy when outmoded forms of transportation become necessity. You lose out when you take the lazy route. A favorite song that applies here: