Welcome to the latest haiku pea podcast, episode 13 of the second series hosted by me, Patricia.
Today I want to pose the question: In searching for the meaning of the haiku have we forgotten to look at what is not said? In not spending the time to read between the lines perhaps we are abandoning excellent haiku and senryu to the wastelands and actually missing the real meaning and the skill of the craft?
I’m also delighted to welcome Peter Draper to the podcast. I’ll tell you a little more about him in a little while and read you some of his work. Last but not least, the renku concludes.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the last podcast, Erotica. It was a topic that required a certain bravery to write for, but you did it so brilliantly, thank you.
Thanks for all the feed back too. You know I always like to get your emails.
Question of the day: In searching for the meaning of the haiku have we forgotten to look at what is not said?
Billy Collins in the Introduction to Haiku, The First Hundred Years, writes:
“poets are likely to agree that at the heart of the haiku lies” “its revelatory effect on the reader.”
Where does this revelatory effect come from? Do readers look for it to hit them directly in the face or do they spend the time reading, re rereading and turning the ideas, the words, the images, over in their mind?
Some examples might illustrate what I am trying to say:
off the moon
Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years – Kacian, Rowland and Burns
This picture is perhaps obvious. It’s night, probably a full moon or very close to it and a Bass jumps from the water to eats insects. What is not said, but if you take the time to savour it, is that the Bass is in silhouette against the moon and the person watching is probably observing from low down on the water’s edge to get the angle. So we have a person in the verse, although we are not told that. He proposes that the bugs are similar to the view of the craters and pock marks on the moon ( a metaphor). Then of course there is a contrast between the singular and the multiple, the large and the small and of course the viewpoint, from the earth to the moon. So much craft involved in this small work.
a whitefish, whiteness
On first reading I thought, OK, it’s a whitefish and it’s a small fish, only 1 inch. I admired the vastness of the dawn, and then how Basho taken us from this huge expanse of sky to focus in on the detail of the fish and it’s tiny piece of whiteness. I saw the sun coming up and wondered where the little fish was. I continued to think it through, does the 1 inch refer to the fish or the lightness of the sky? It could be both. With each thought process the enjoyment of the piece increased. And again there is the person observing, where is Basho?
in the quiet house
Published in Presence #2
In just two lines Frank Dullaghan has set up the picture for us. The house is quiet, empty except for the fixtures and fitting and of course the observer, who is not mentioned. You are not told that the fridge is humming, but you know it, you don’t have to be told. Dullaghan gives you the contradiction of the quietness and the hum of the fridge. This discrepancy creating humour in the piece. Martin Lucas in his analysis of this two liner says the following “Our expectations of a third line, perhaps describing the noise of the fridge, are defeated, and we are left with an empty space to fill in with our own memory of that familiar hum.”
an owl’s moon
watering the black
Publication credit: Leaf-fall, Issue 1.1 ed. Akira Yagami (June 2019)
I’m lucky enough to be able to count Alan as a haiku friend. I asked him to analyse this piece for me and this is what he said:
The full moon, in fact the fullest full moon, are iconic around the world. Owls are famously iconic, thanks to storytelling, Disney, and Jane Yolen, and their full moons; and looking for owls (owling) just go together. Owling is often a pursuit on a cold winter’s night:
Owl Moon (a 1987 children’s picture book by Jane Yolen):
The first line suggests Winter (perhaps January and February, Northern Hemisphere).
The Basics of Owling By Melissa Mayntz
Now the second line is mysterious, although suggesting night, and why, again? Because we often think of owls as the symbol of night (or the extremely early morning end of night before ‘real’ day). In one way this three line haiku is saying night, Night, NIGHT but quietly and firmly.
There’s “black” between stars to our naked eye, and the watering effect is or could be the reflection of the great black night across a body of water (stream, river, lake). The moon famously ripples the water by effect, and also the ripples ‘ripple’ the moon’s reflection. It’s a ripple in time, as time is frozen as an owl flies overhead, or swoops down on its prey.
The triple o effect in the first line captures the o in owl and the o in moon, and also the Oh! of both iconic images ‘backlighting’ each other. The second line has a regular verb but used in a less regular relationship, where everything is upside down and different senses. Not only is the question which way is up, but what element is really what it is, and how our senses can often ‘switch’ at night away from the bright lights of home, or partying in the city.
And the last line is also, aren’t we, as a race of people, and as a planet, or part of a planet, ‘between stars’ or ‘between star systems’.
I’m so glad I asked Alan for his thoughts. Bearing in mind what he has told me, I derive more and more pleasure from reading this verse, time and again. To know more about Alan and the short form poetry course he offers check out his website.
Now let’s learn a little about a poet new to the podcast. Peter Draper. He lives in the East Riding of Yorkshire, in the UK, in a village called South Cave. It’s a village I am familiar with. My sister in law had her wedding reception in the village.
He is a very busy man,Working at the University of Hull as a professor of nursing and leader of the Teaching Excellence Academy. He is also a part time priest.
If that didn’t keep him busy enough he writes poetry and has become interested in haiku under the influence of one of our regular contributors, Roger Watson. AND he absolutely loves archery.
Archery he says “is not unlike haiku. It’s meditative, requires intellectual detachment and watchful awareness, and combines stillness, precision and explosive power.”
He has a couple of tips for us:
When you have one of those moments write it down. Once it’s written down you can come back to it at any time. Before I started this podcast I spent a wee while trying to remember a moment that came to me in the middle of the night, with no success. So I have to agree with Peter.
He also recommends getting feedback.
With regard to the two pieces we are going to hear Peter says:
“I often find myself awake at 3 am, and nowadays I occupy my mind with haiku as I listen to whatever sounds are out there. Perhaps that’s why the haiku you have picked have a ‘night’ theme. Our village bell rings on the hour throughout the night, but I assume that no-one can hear it because they are asleep! That got me thinking, what is that bell measuring if not time?”
So what has Peter been thinking during the wee small hours, let’s hear:
the village bell
If you’d like to read more from Peter this is his blog
Now I am pleased, honoured and a little sad to bring you our Renku , all 22 verses of it. It’s finished folks. It was our first go at writing together. Coming as we do from all around the world, with so many cultural differences I think the renku is a marvel. I have certainly learned a great deal by doing it. Thank you so much to Giddy Nielsen Sweep, Robert Horrobin, shane m pruett, Dick Bailly, Joan Barrett, Rickey Rivers Jnr, Veronica Hosking, Andy Syor, and Mineko Takahashi for writing with me. Big hugs to you all, it wasn’t easy was it?
You can read it in its entirety on the renku tab of the website too.
ageing reflections on
Giddy Nielsen Sweep
the world turns
a half frozen ball
over the hill –
now I look forward
to the sunset
in the valley
footprints in the dew
floating among the stars
m shane pruett
a sedentary cat
stirs the darkness
outside the window
a bird sings to itself
eagle soars overhead
dominate the afternoon sky
spotted mare nickering
the hiss of rain on warm stone
riding white horses
a hard misty place called home
on the yellow brick road
the lion cries
under the moonlight
sight the hare
sudden dust cloud thwarts
the predators’ ambitions
in the lilies
feeling beneath the feet
the fatigue of the bulbs
yet again next season
a cycle of all lives
sons and daughters hunting eggs
in Grandma’s garden
on the river’s edge
a wild duck with chicks
Giddy Nielsen Sweep
deep in down
the future slumbers
And so it ends, both the renku and today’s podcast. But before we leave the renku and I’d like to ask you to think of a title for it. Send me an email and I will hose one.
I think we’ll do it again. If you’d like to write an opening verse for the next renku, send it to me via email and we will start again.
The next podcast is one in which you do all the writing. The topic is Trees and you have until the 8th of July to submit. Looking forward to hearing from you, please send me your submissions via email, or I might not see them.
Thank you to all the renku poets, to Peter for his insight into his life and his work and to Alan for his poetic analysis.
I’m putting together themes for season three, if you have a burning desire to write and to encourage others to write on a certain topic, let me know. I have a few free topic spots at the moment.
A huge thank you for joining me this time and I hope you will come back next time when we are talking trees. Will it be as popular as the Erotica podcast we wrote last time? I do hope so.
Bye for now, and ….. keep writing
Patricia’s instagram account: @pealogic
Patricia’s Twitter: @thepoetrypea