One winter in haiku

roadside grass (click to see on photoblog)

These are my picks from the first 61 haiku at the new/old photoblog. They’re all in response to photos from January-March 2008, and seem to make a half-decent sequence, especially with the line-breaks removed.

a shining pile of deer guts — I want to pick out all the hairs

kernals of sun through the holes in the old corncrib

in the spotlight’s glare, the dark sky dissolves into snowflakes

foggy woods: the sassafras follows a crooked route to the sky

around the stalks where bees hummed in August, sparkles on the snow

January, and the vernal pond is capped by green ice

dead locust bark: fungal white, algal green, alive between the cracks

inside the deer fence, the 200-year-old white oak isn’t stirring

mares’ tails — interrupting my reverie, a sharp-shinned hawk

damp with snowmelt, the oak log’s colors are so bright, I have to touch it

through a handprint on the fogged-up window, icicles, sunrise

fresh snow: a boil on the black birch looks good enough to lick

beside the woods road, a single stalk of grass pointing toward town

no less grotesque for being spindly — south roof icicles

the silence seems deepest beside the oak with a huge round opening

fog drifts through branches locked under a coat of ice

dried seedheads get to bloom a second time — icy meadow

far below freezing, the pond ice grows a quilt of downy hoarfrost

snow melts to show the mountain’s true skin, salamander-slick

drifted snow — a doe follows the bootprints as far as she can

snowy right-of-way: weed stalks stipple the mountain laurel’s shadow

snow-bound woods: root hairs on a toppled tree are the only gossamer

I remember every place I’ve seen that amber — moon in eclipse

the snow’s so deep, any arrangement of sticks seems significant

the winter barn: a faint smell of summer from an open door

milkweed silk has frozen in mid-spill — snowy field

in the snow under an impaled rag of a leaf, something squeaks

Hunger Moon snow: skinny shadows lead to thorny trunks

deep in the woods, the setting sun fingers two witch hazels

fleshy leaves ideal for the indoor desert face the snow

only the hawk’s inner eyelids have fallen shut, white, white

such a presence — the snow all around it is flecked with black

their calls must’ve changed: no hint of Canada now in these local geese

forty blackbirds gurgle and creak in the ash tree — spring snow

melted except where the giant snowblower blew, a phantom road

7 Replies to “One winter in haiku”

  1. Whoa! Removing the line breaks from haiku goes against everything you stand for. Not everything, but still. You are all about those line breaks. Why did you remove them? How can you say they make a decent sequence, “especially with the line-breaks removed.” Have you had coffee again?

    1. I prefer English-language haiku with line breaks, but I like them this way, too. It’s a question of whether having those additional pauses (visual if not actual) helps or hinders the presentation.

      As I was trying, perhaps ineptly, to express in my comment at your blog yesterday, the fact that I may prefer one thing some of the time doesn’t mean I can’t also appreciate its opposite. Poets and artists should be open to all approaches, in the same way that many if not most professional musicians are interested in all kinds of music.

  2. Did you see my reply comment on my post? I used a musical analogy, like you do here. Don’t think I don’t appreciate the opposite of what I appreciate, because I do.

    I have spent a lot of time with the opposite of what I appreciate — with both music and poetry — and that time has given me the ability to appreciate what I appreciate, while still appreciating, at least in some ways, its opposite.

    (I am hesitant here with terms like “opposite” because I don’t know that there are really opposites where styles are concerned. Just different styles.)

    1. Quite right. “Opposite” was just the first word that came to hand. I guess I meant schools of thought that are set up in opposition to each other: romanticism vs. classicism, avant-garde vs. mainstream, etc.

  3. Sheesh. I can’t read this many haiku in one sitting! I’ll be back.

    “Kernels of sun” is the one that’s most alive, for me. But there’s tons of good ones here. You were so off-the-cuff about the haiku you’d been writing that I didn’t go look at it. I should know my Bonta better than that by now :-)

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