This blog does not need an image
because it deals with the mind images
which are called up by text
the text in this case being haiku poems
For a number of years I lived on the edge of the desert in South Australia. Both isolated and solitary. In this situation one appreciates visitors. Which were scarce. I remember most. One in particular. He, in a subtle way, changed my life. He left me a gift which, after many years, I still have. A gift of a book of Haiku Poetry. Haiku, a Japanese form of poetry. Short intense poems, two lines in length. This gift which, like rain, fell onto fertile ground, turned a virtual mind desert into an oasis.
The Japanese genius for the creation of ‘little things’ does not only express itself in today’s electronic gadgets of the computer world, but has its tradition in a long and intricate history. One only has to look at the exquisitely carved ivories (netsuke) or the equally exquisite dwarfed trees (bonsai) to understand where the tradition of Haiku poetry has its roots.
Although the outer form of the two lined haiku poem is minute, its inner scope has the capacity to be immense. A favourite way of explaining the essence of this short form of poem is that it expresses “the Ahh!-nes of things”. There are many examples. My favourite was written by a monk who, upon returning to his cell, found it robbed empty. His response in Haiku:
“The thief, he left it behind
The moon in the window”,
“Up comes the bucket from the well of gloom,
And in it floats – a pink Camellia bloom”,
“My ears had found the sermon dull and stale;
But in the woods outside – the nightingale”.
These short poems seemed to have a direct line into our creative inspiration centre.
The Ahhh-ness of things
How could the gift of a collection of Haiku poems change my life. It came in relation to the fertile ground of a lifestyle of solitude. A magic combination. It taught me to focus my mind in a different way on the environment. This created a minute mind shift strong enough to experience a life change. From that moment on I started each day with a short observation, often in writing, of the environment in which I lived. From this came my interest in writing which has lived on until this day. These expressions do not in any way copy the Haiku form, but certainly have their roots in that gift left by a traveller all those many years. One never knows into what any gesture of kindness may result.
Nature features strongly in Haiku Poetry. I will finish this blog’s ‘Ahhh-nes’
with another short selection of summer Haikus:
“The butterfly which on a poppy clings,
Opens and shuts a booklet’s paper wings”.
“People caught by sudden pouring skies;
What ingenious hats they improvise”.
“The snake has slid away: but still its eyes,
Glare at me from the grass and paralyse”.
“What burning stillness! Brass cicadas-drones.
Drill their resonance into rocks and stones”.
“The sun-shower, mirrored in a globe of rain.
Hangs for a moment, never seen again”.
”A moonlit evening: here beside the pool.
Stripped to the waist – a snail enjoys the cool”
From the Haiku collection titled: “A net of fireflies”
'Follow that way which experience confirms to be your own'