Meditation on the Art of the Haiku

What I love about this image is the way the large yellow plane of the leaf picks up the yellow from the asparagus ferns and breaks up the division of the image into two parts created by the vertical grass stalk in the centre of the image. Against it are three elements: the blurred yellow at the folded tip of the leaf, the deep blue of Wood Lake in behind, and the vertical brown leaf caught deeper in the grass. It is an image of a leaf at rest, or at least arrested in its fall, but the image itself is not a rest, except in its totality. The balance here is not the expected thing, however, the leaf caught on the ferns, but all elements, in union with all others. That’s how poetry is put together, too.

P1530094

Cottonwood Leaf in Asparagus and Grass

Wood Lake, British Columbia, Canada

But, that’s not all. The image was made from a bench memorializing my friend, Harro Lange, who made a long journey from Latvia to British Columbia as a child after a war a lifetime ago, and spent his entire life trying to reassemble that lost world. The books he used for this task fill my writing studio now. It’s my task to deal with them. It’s Harro’s task to deal with the asparagus. That is also how poetry is put together. If you add one more element (the natural, the social, and …), such as a camera or a park bench, then you have a Haiku (the natural, the social, and the manufactured, breaking expectations.) Such poems are not things a poet writes. They are meditations that make poets. So, please, put down the device you’re reading this on and go out and sit, make yourself ready and then wait. No one ever wrote a poem in any other way.

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