In The Shadow

Alternative:  in the shadow/the spider spins/double bind

As I have said often, this year of daily blogging is a learning process for me.  I would so appreciate your input as to which presents as a better haiku…and remember, you are always welcome to use the photo as a prompt for you.

Sometimes there are photos that you really like – not sure why – but you really like. This photo is one of those for me. I took this photo several years ago in Chelsea Market in NYC. If you ever get to go to Chelsea Market, you will have a blast. Lots of foodie places, fun environment, and lots of tasting. The Chelsea Market is the home of The Food Network…

Anyways…hope you enjoy.

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15 thoughts on “In The Shadow

    • These are notes written in the comments section of Troutswirl, October 10, 2012. I study these comments to help me to learn. When I began this bizarre endeavor in January, I knew little about haiku. This year has been for me about learning, creating, and finding some pleasure in the experience. I suppose at times I move from having fun to being more self critical. But much of my learning has been through the help and input from others like you…so to answer your question I trust words like these to determine what makes a good haiku: “Aside from whether haiku was intended, I would say that “pretty” and “happy” demonstrate too much authorial intrusion. These words are a little too sappy for haiku, too, to my tastes. Even the word “so” speaks too much of the author. The right touch of subjectivity in contemporary English-language haiku can work well (one needs to control it, not avoid it entirely), but for the most part I think the author should get out of the way. Let the poem imply its meaning, not hit you over the noggin with it. Furthermore, the last line here may not be describing a blossom but interpreting the robin as if it were a blossom. The metaphor points at the author (“this is what I think of the image”) rather than letting a carefully chosen image or experience do its own talking. It’s the difference between the first and second parts of Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow” poem (even though it’s a poem I like very much). Explicit metaphors and similes succeed only rarely in haiku because they are detours to the image, or substitutes for it, and not the image itself. In attempting to be postmodern or post-whatever, some poets treat haiku as if it celebrates the poet. They’re welcome to do so. But for my money it seems vital for haiku to celebrate the experience, not the experiencer. Of course, such an assertion begs for its opposite—for some haiku poet out there to turn all Whitmanesque in celebrating himself, which I think we already see with some gendai haiku. However, haiku poems succeed best, I think, if they trust the image (read Robert Hass’s “Images” essay), and juxtapose images carefully to create implied emotion by what is left out. I like to refer to this space as the “vacuum” in haiku. In The Book of Tea, though not speaking of haiku, Kakuzo Okakura said “In leaving something unsaid the beholder is given a chance to complete the idea and thus a great masterpiece irresistibly rivets your attention until you seem to become actually a part of it. A vacuum is there for you to enter and fill up to the full measure of your aesthetic emotion.” If a haiku doesn’t create some sort of vacuum by what is left out, what is there to draw the reader in?”

      • Smile… If it leaves me in thought of putting a picture or pictures together, through words that are minimal, reflecting some sense of emotion or emotional direction often incorporating nature…and in some way it feels good to have written it….how is that for transparency? I hope you know I appreciate your connection and investment in discussion, you have both challenged and blessed me often.

      • I haven’t really read much about them, but I think the perfect haiku can be written. But a good one is really three things, an image, a thought and a thunder bolt. I don’t mean harsh like a real billion volts of electricity, but a last line that severs them, cuts them, and yet binds them. Any line can be each, or none at all. The greatest distance, yet the closest tie-in makes it.

        you are welcome. I appreciate you sharing your words. For me, poetry was one of the few ways I was able to express emotion for a long time.

        Plus words are fun to play with.

        long gentle thoughtful
        dancing now with syllables
        winter seals the heart

        spring’s warming embrace
        hesitation, healing heart
        weaving frond baskets

        thanks… bw

      • Yes, thank you for all that you wrote. I agree. Coming full circle, I sometimes write several versions and always welcome input – not to have a perfect haiku, but to continue to grow in getting a lightning bolt. As you haiku and poetry (more so) is a way for me to express emotion, but much of that poetry is not shared. Thanks so much for the wonderful haiku…

      • sometimes the lightning bolt is a gently breeze, and that is closer to perfect than the lightning bolt.

        let your heart dance in your words

  1. Francina, thanks so much for your thoughts…valued and appreciated. Trusting you are well. Perhaps in the next few days you should be glad you are not in Berks County – sounds like we are going to experience the hurricane that is coming up the east coast of the states…and we are in line…

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