Friday haiku 61

An unusual posting for me. I wrote this haiku, or haibun, I suppose,  in Spanish while in Mexico, and translated it into English. Among other things, I got a new insight into translation. It’s no easier just because you wrote the original.

Fuera de la madrugada
salta el sol
corazón palpitante

Out of the darkness
leaps the sun
like a beating heart

Haibun: poetry

What use is poetry? You can’t drive a nail with it. You can’t heat your house, shoe a horse, build a dam, or pave a street. It’s no good for sewing, sawing, swinging, or finding your keys in the dark. If you’re a baker, soldier, mechanic, farmer, gravedigger, or physician, poetry doesn’t get the job done. Does poetry clean, cut, weld, braise, fry, or distill? Design a plane, accumulate capital, build a stadium? Fat chance. About the only thing I can think of that poetry is good for is changing everything.

“Words,” said Sensei,
“Cannot burn your tongue,”
Spitting ashes.

1 1/2 haibun

Last night, I awoke from a dream of my childhood, startled to find tears in my eyes. There were the four of us children together, including my long dead brother, second in age, just older than I, and thus relegated to the task of keeping me on the proper path of life, as determined by whatever demons and angels that informed his conscience. In the dream, he was chiding me for some transgression which I have now lost to memory, as happens with dreams. I only know that, when I awoke, I was filled with such a love and tenderness for him as I haven’t felt since he died, many years ago. I got up and looked out the window, at the snow-covered landscape revealed by the light of a streetlamp, and what came to me was the final sentence of James Joyce’s story, The Dead:

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Which in turn put me in mind of the Michael P. Smith song, The Dutchman, especially this verse:

When Amsterdam is golden in the summer,
Margaret brings him breakfast,
She believes him.
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow.

What came out of all this before I went back to bed was a trio of haiku, or, I suppose more accurately, two haiku and one senryu.

The Winter snow
Falls equally
On living and dead

No tulips bloom
Beneath the snow
Only dreams

Heaven and hell
Are but regions of the heart
With contested borders