Found poem (w/ rune painting)

A near perfect haiku came from my love by text earlier this eve.

Im making my moms
moms cake for dessert , it
is called “my cake”

I get pissy about 5-7-5 for haiku in English. Wordy. Haiku’s genre for us not form, moment of unanticipated in-seeing. Count your blesses! not your sylls!

Also the search has been on since at least Kerouac for authentic American haiku. Now and then one’s found, and this looks to me like one.

Serendipitous also, her rune tanka, 5-7-5-7-7, pigments made of ochres from the whole planet. No fool I haven’t counted the sylls. It’s a five-realm rainbow.

Heidi - runes 2

H. painted it in quick accord with these runes in the OE poem “His Message.” The which no one knows how for sure to read

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 9.25.16 PM

Have a trans. of it coming out soon in Asymptote, will post a link of it when up.

Student work: Fall haiku

I propose to students, in this exercise, that haiku as form (three lines of 5 7 5 syllables) is less helpful to us than haiku as genre (quick bright trace of an instant of perception), and invite them to let their poems be absolutely simple.

They work gamely at it but often the temptation of complication maintains its hold. So when their haiku come in, I pick one by each student and pare it back to the bare bones of perception I sense in it. Not to edit their poems but to model a process.

Then I ask them to do likewise with the other four. Doubled up on a verb? Pick the one right one. Added texture with an adjective or an adverb? Try getting rid of it. Straining somewhere for effect? Lighten your touch. Be absolutely simple. Tap into everything a word is and does.

Here are some of the results, which I think are quite lovely, with their edits retained, when they made some.

          An apple
rots from rain,
          never picked.

          This field —
six feet high, dizzy
          dried and dead.

Gray fur coats
the carpet, as the cat
sheds away the summer.


black dirt speckles
cell blocks in knotted veins
an alligator‘s skin

          Wind eats silence
with whistle and whimper
          debris takes flight.

          Dew crowns blades of grass —
Regal autumn mornings rise,
          No one is awake.

One hour,
stowed away,
for what?

Crop burning fills
lungs with harvest air.
I am displaced.

Rain, rain,
go away —
or don’t.

In the old, blue, houses
          the moisture pleads,
“Can I borrow your coat?”

Even on the sea
leaves of fall
          find me

Black pavement
littered with gold,
trees shed their skin.

moon at its fullest,
leaves float.

          squirrel cracks open
an acorn on the floor
          Basho’s head rolls out

          Rich gravy runs
over white mountains
          on to burnt tongues.

A crow
from the rotting pumpkin
raises a cry.

          Golds litter wet ground,
The bronze moment of the year
          For which I was named.

The day the dead rise,
one night of freedom.
They want candy.

One pumpkin
half dead from of frost
earth eager for earth.

          Inside the bus —
under boots,
          the painful heat wrenches my skin.

          The bus stop —
wet leaves
          on toes.

scents of green
hollowed out skies
rain is falling

The leaves recorded
Eyes are video cameras
switched to on standby

The wind
pushes against the walls
house creaks

Raindrops onto
A red bridge over
Blue waves.

Gravity pulls
Leaves succumb
Trees bare all

Dried roots
Rotten Memories
Snaps of ginger

Uprising mushrooms
Puddles gathering round
Fall mornings

The crunch of leaves
gives way to the coming rain
and soak filled groans.

leaves the rain

block my view
of plants.

Exercise: Fall haiku

First . . .

Read the haiku by Bash­ō (here are some). Notice that

  • most have a seasonal reference — something that tells you what season it is;all are three lines, but most do not obey the Japanese formal stricture (5-7-5 syllable count) — haiku tend to work better in English if they’re shorter;
  • they rely on image rather than on statement — they’re vivid to the senses;
  • they often juxtapose two experiences or impressions — sort of the way Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” does—though there need not be any metaphor;
  • they are completely simple.

. . . and next . . .

Write five fall haiku for next class. Your seasonal reference, a traditional part of the Japanese haiku, should be to fall. Be on guard for clichés!

Draw each haiku from the world you see (and hear, taste, touch, and smell) around you. Rely on image rather than statement. In other words, let the image speak for itself.

Don’t pile on effects. Be completely simple. In the spirit of which — no more than one adjective or one adverb in each.

. . .  and soon to come.

Some of their fall haiku, after a round of rounding them down.

In a station of the Metro

The poem, as most all know —


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

I had two aims in our discussion of this too too famous poem. One, get a feel for how sound underwrites sense. Two, sharpen our feeling for the logos of the image. Logos, did I really say that. Bloody pretentious. But logic seemed too wee a word. Logos as in way, coherence, holdingtogether. PIE root, *leg-, “to gather.”

Sound underwriting sense. We’d done our rock and stone thang. The stop at the end of rock is a jagged sharpness. The nasal at the end of stone is a dying rounded fall. And those sounds underwrite the senses of their words.

How now with Pound. Asked them first what they saw with the first line. Eventual consensus — ghostly faces in a trainish station underground — misty, blur-edged, as in something Impressionist.

The second line? How did those petals get to hang on that bough? The bough (limb of tree not fore of ship) (why we had to clarify that goes to something important about teaching language and its poetry) is wet.

Wet how?

Most likely with rain.

And being wet means?

If wet, sticky, and petals that fall there, stick there.

Next comes, logos of the image, what kind of petals? Daisy? Rose?

One pictured the former. K so how did those petals come to be there? Someone brought a bouquet of daisies into the woods and when her or his beloved didn’t show threw the bouquet in a pique and it hit a pine tree and broke up and some petals stuck there?

Um yeah maybe?

It’s possible, sure, but other possibles?

Occam’s Razor comes to play here. The simplest account is often best. And so we came to — cherry blossoms, blown a bit about in a rainstorm, come loose, float around, land on the limb of the tree that bore them, to spend a little while adhered there.

“Too too.” Not that it not warrant its fame. But such fame keeps us from seeing it afresh. And freshness is its all — that much it shares with haiku, though it’s not one, no really, not really.

Penultimate Q, what’s the second line, cherry blossoms struck to presumably a cherry tree, got to do with the first, ghostly faces in an underground transit crowd?

Silence, a bit.

Anything cherry blossoms have in common with faces?

I picture an oval.

And right there’s what one called the metaphoric bridge. The likeness that draws two differences into relation. I’m not a big fan of metaphor, it’s a lie and makes things other than they is, but gotta admire this one, by this reading, its assertion of non-non-difference.

Coupla quals here. One, the faces, the shapes of them, help us to come to cherry petals, as much as the petals help us to see faces afresh. Two, the colours of the petals, pinkish-white, are part of the metaphoric bridge as well, and suggest a racially pretty homogenous Metro crowd. Maybe not inaccurate for Paris in 1912. But it does place and date the poem.

Final Q, how do the sounds of the lines support their senses? My whole purpose though the getting-there may have been more lovely than the gotten-to.

Apparition — except for the plosive p, softest among the stops, it’s all liquids and nasals. The blurred and softened sounds make the faces that much softer, blurrier, more deeply ghostly.

Wet, black bough — the first word ends in a stop, the second begins and ends with ones, the third begins with one. At the centre of the phrase is a sharply delineated core. Giving the cherry petals on the bough more clarity and definition than the faces they’re metaphors for.

In so far as the poem, its image and sounds, is about transience, the fleetingness of all this, it’s striking that the cherry petals are granted more clarity definition and permanence than the faces they’re figure for. If the poem may be called out for chinoiserie the ground of the cry is here.

LASTLY. Pound’s advice, that we compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, lives even in a thing so small as the comma after “wet.”

The stop, t, already punctuates it. Neither syntax nor articulation asks for more. But the comma makes one last refinement of the phasing — slowing just a little more the movement of breath and mind hand-in-hand through the line.

With that, wet comes a bit closer to the vegetal slowness of far longer syllables, blackbough—slows enough to join their company. The very words, wet, black, bough, become cherry petals, adhering to the poem a small while, then blown off.

NEXT UP. More on Pound on the musical phrase. A thing I wrote for Donald Revell, one of the fathers to my mind.