Sunday, September 6, 2015

Laurie Kuntz writes

Riding with the Haiku Poet

On a muddy road, a haiku poet 
driving a car that looks like an old stone pond,
offered a ride.

Haiku today, he bemoaned, 
is written by those who have never seen a frog jump,
or heard the cricket’s dusky lament.

I, then, recalled, one last lingering fall day,
the window, left ajar, just enough for a cricket
to fly in and land in the middle of my classroom,

and the teenage boy, who amidst the curious yelps of students,
stood up and squashed it with the 5-7-5
beat of his heel.

But this poem does not pretend 
to be about dead crickets, vicious boys,
or open windows on autumn days,

it’s just about a ride with a haiku poet
in a car that looks like 
an old stone pond.

1 comment:

  1. This is not haiku, it is a poem about haiku. It alludes to two famous haiku, one by Bashō. Although the poet had been working on the idea for some time (six months earlier he had already written a poem using the phrase "the sound of water," and he continued to find a first line, after rejecting his student Kikaku's suggestion about yellow roses), the haiku itself came to him when he was visited by his Zen master; Boncho asked Bashō a koan-like question (one that has no answer since it defies reason), and the haiku was the poet's response:

    an old pond
    a frog jumps into
    the sound of water

    --tr. Jane Reichhold

    The other haiku Laurie alludes to one by Issa.

    On a branch
    floating downriver
    a cricket, singing.

    --tr. Jane Hirshfield


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