What’s in a name?

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After yesterday’s
rain, this morning’s air is sweet.
My neighbours have a
fragrant tree … and no, I don’t
know its botanical name.

(08 March 2015)


Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when romanized or translated) usually with the following pattern of on: 5-7-5-7-7.

The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku (上の句 “upper phrase”), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku (下の句 “lower phrase”). (Wikipedia)

Full moon soon

.

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Pinned to autumn grey
the white disc has one soft edge …
two days still to go.

(06 March 2015)


In fact, 06 March 2015 is the night of the full moon. The observation underpinning the haiku took place two nights ago, but I have just finalised the text.

Dream sequence

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In a dream, lost, and
perplexed: hilly pathways, gates,
steps, gardens, doorways …

entrances denied
to me, barricades: all this
so familiar.

I stop. I wake up.
Was that me weeping? howling?
that another dream?

(Monday 02 March 2015)

Senryū #002: On the wheel

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What shape might this be?
forming itself from what clay?
spinning on what wheel?

(Friday 20 February 2015)

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NOTES:

There are notions which, unbidden, emerge from the subconscious … sometimes, fully formed. This senryū started out somewhat amorphous and malleable, but quickly conformed to the seventeen-syllable pattern, although it did not seem to be a haiku.

I now know what it is.

 

Senryū #001: Mystery of grace

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Mystery of
grace: the dirty truth is
irrelevant.

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NOTES:

The words of this poem were on my lips as I awoke this morning. I wrote them down, thinking of them as being in the haiku form. I did not know about senryū until I happened to read a post on another blog that included the word in its title. I am happy to have learned the distinction between the two forms.

“Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word” (Wikipedia: Senryū).

 

Harbinger

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.

Dawn. A south wind. Leaves
tap the glass. The rain drops in
monosyllables.

(15 February 2015)

 


Two mornings in a row, the leaves of the Cordyline banksii outside my window have awakened me early. Wellington’s summer has been fine and warm, so these few cool days, with their southerly air flow, seem like a harbinger of autumn.

Out beyond

rumi out beyond.

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing
and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

(Rūmī)

It seems to me there is so much clamour in the world today. So many urgent cries; so many fervent voices clamouring to be heard. So much talk about justice and injustice, rights and wrongs. Our ears overflow with claims and counter-claims; we can no longer be sure who to believe, who to trust.

When the world-weary soul lies down in the grass of Rūmī’s field, “the world is too full to talk about.” Ah! The bliss of silence.


Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, also known as Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balḫī or Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, was a 13th century Persian (Tādjīk) poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. (GoodReads)

 

Evening out

Lamp-light, tree-shadows,
wing-flutter, then cough, chirp, chime –
carousing tui.


The pohutukawa trees along the terraces near where I live have begun to flower. The tui, having gorged themselves on the golden kōwhai, are now beginning to sip the honeyed paradise afforded by New Zealand’s Christmas tree. Tradition has it that the earlier the crimson blossoms appear, the better the summer we can anticipate.