Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


in praise of short poems

haiga by Buson

courtesy Wikipedia

I grew up on haiku. It’s popular in school classrooms now — fast, and relatively easy to teach — but I don’t remember there being a lot of my friends who learned it as children.

My familiarity with it — and subsequent fondness for it — may be due to my father, an inveterate reader and lover of poetry. I inherited his collection of Kipling, Shakespeare (one of my earliest books was a child’s Shakespeare that my father gave me), and other poets.

Then, when I began to study poetry, haiku seemed so (deceptively) easy. Seventeen syllables, 5-7-5, how hard is that?

VERY hard. haiga IssaTo create an evocative image — bridge the gap between writer & reader — in SEVENTEEN SYLLABLES??

Actually, I adore short poems — haiku, tanka, limericks, and recently the lune. The lune is an attempt to make English conform more nearly to the spirit of haiku. It’s a 3-5-3 setup, and also very hard.

Today’s poem is really multi-cultural. It’s a lune — my own — in the haiga tradition. Haiga are drawings (usually by the haiku author) accompanying a haiku. But that makes them seem more independent of each other than they are. Think of graphic novels, how the text & illustration are inseparable. That’s more the way of haiga, I suspect.

They’re a wonderful reminder (for me) of how Buddhism often works in the arts. One not more important than the other; each enhancing the other. And the idea of essence: that you can somehow see/ touch the heart of an object/ feeling with these few words…

My attempt is a contemporary riff: a lune w/ a photo. Let me know what you think.

photo the author's

photo the author’s

lune for Pascal  ~

the dog barks

hungry for my hands

heart hungry



  • http://www.noahgildersleeve.com Noah Gildersleeve

    I feel the warm sun
    Hung high in clear blue relief,
    but I miss the rain

    • Britton Gildersleeve

      Very nice. :)

Previous Posts

afternoon break
I should be working on the presentation I'm giving in...oh, 3 hours. :) I should be figuring out what to fix for dinner before I go. I should... I should. Instead, tea break. A cup of good ol' house tea -- Panyang Congou from Harney's, And plain vanilla macarons from the Whole Foods bakery. Bl

posted 4:51:14pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

health, gadgets, and technology
I am NOT good at the boredom of keeping healthy. I blew my knees running. My joint replacement put paid to treadmilling. I hate my recumbent bike (and no, I don't know why, except that it's boring). So cardi

posted 12:14:13pm Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »

adventures and distances
We're big on adventures in my family. My beloved enlisted in the Marines during Việt Nam because he wanted to see what it was like. (My mother-in-law -- loopy about many things -- STILL goes ballistic if you ment

posted 12:48:05pm Sep. 14, 2014 | read full post »

small signs from the universe
I believe in signs. I believe that the universe -- some might say god, I probably wouldn't :) -- talks to you. Where I last worked FT, the joke on the 4th floor (where I officed) was Britton believes the universe

posted 3:24:29pm Sep. 13, 2014 | read full post »

a nice hot cuppa
It's chilly outside -- down 49 degrees tonight! And life is chaotic, as we adapt to a downstairs bed for my beloved, a dining table 'office,' and all the other accoutrements of a busted ankle. So here's what you do when life sends you mail you'd like to return to sender: make a cup of tea. Someth

posted 4:45:11pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.