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Dupont Haiku


dcmarti1
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the odd cardinal
and stray bluebird find their rest
in a dying hedge

while the heavy limbs
of andrew johnson's tree bend
from weighty spring rains

while the street-side cars
are parked in both directions
this quiet sunday

 

(Dupont is a neighborhood in the north-west quadrant of Washington, DC. These 3 stanzas form one sentence: not exactly a strict haiku. Sorry.)

 

REVISION 1

 

(Taking Dave's critique into consideration, changed the verb tenses. Odd and stray were used as adjectives because most of the chirpping and flapping in the hedge were from black, brown, gray little wee birds, finches? The cardinal and bluejay were STRIKINGLY beautiful in the hedge.)

 

the odd cardinal
and stray bluebird found their rest
in a dying hedge

while the heavy limbs
of andrew johnson's tree bent
from weighty spring rains

while the street-side cars
were parked in both directions
on quiet sundays

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Changed "as" to "while". I went down that road with "35 minutes to Coimbra", haha.

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David W. Parsley

I don't believe I have previously seen this type of use for the haiku by an accomplished poet. I note the run-on sentence across the haiku stanzas, and feel sure that it shouldn't work, but I keep coming back. Overall the poem feels somewhat unfinished for this reader, but I am fascinated by what and how this piece works.

 

Thanks Marti,

- Dave

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Trying to be less formal, less rigid. Yes, it is across stanzas....If I had proper punctuation and capitalization, and at least one semi-colon, it might not be a run-on sentence. :)

 

Thanks, as always.

 

I don't believe I have previously seen this type of use for the haiku by an accomplished poet. I note the run-on sentence across the haiku stanzas, and feel sure that it shouldn't work, but I keep coming back. Overall the poem feels somewhat unfinished for this reader, but I am fascinated by what and how this piece works.

 

Thanks Marti,

- Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

Title, mood, and form appeal to me, and I especially like the "weighty spring rains" and how the cars "are parked in both directions," a familiar city scene on the "quiet" Sunday. Tweaking a foreign form to suit one's native language is more understandable to me than hacking a form that was designed for one's native language; I like novel uses of forms in this sense. I enjoy trying to mould my own poems into Rainis sonnets, partly because I like the form and its options and partly because I'm lucky to ever write anything longer (well, except prose). I'm not so sure anyone else is doing this with the Rainis sonnet in English though, lol. As for haiku in English, I rarely see one I love except (surprisingly) some incredible translations of the masters.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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It was "weighty spring rains" or "internal rot". :)

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Title, mood, and form appeal to me, and I especially like the "weighty spring rains" .....

 

Tony

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David W. Parsley

Hi dc, after further musing, I have come round to admiring (like Tony) this adaptation of a traditional form. I am taken with the imagist quality of the thing - vivid and tactile, so immediate you can smell it.

 

Innovating in the way the stanzas connect, the piece retains some very important aspects of haiku in each of those stanzas: emphasizes an aspect of nature, though artificial devices and constructions are also here; present tense; implied (rather than explicitly stated) season (exception discussed below); self-contained use of "kirej" presenting two distinct "cut" images (also with an exception.)

 

My initial feeling of incompleteness derives more from the poem's construction than its development. As I say above, this is a complete experience that appears to aim for a clarity and simplicity reminiscent of William Carlos Williams. I ask that you indulge a few suggestions.

 

First of all, I concur with Tony's appreciation of the "weighty spring rains", but differ on the effectiveness of its poetic realization here. For me, the second stanza is dictionally overloaded with piling on such words as "heavy", "bend", and "weighty": too much to ply a three line stanza. I recommend expunging adjectives and let the verb do the work.

 

Second (just turn the knob to OFF if you like, but I like the poem too much to shut up ;-): I think you can more cleanly express the coinciding arrivals of cardinal and bluejay. Again, a good rule of thumb from both your root genres, haiku and imagist poetry, is to avoid unnecessary adjectives, like "odd" and "stray". The immediacy can be improved with cleaner diction and movement.

 

Third (will this never end?? apologies...): The last stanza lacks the cutting action around two distinct images, but that seems perfectly okay here. For this reader, there is instead a juxtaposition of the quiet Sunday implying order and serenity (I can see reflecting puddles without ripples, don't know how you did it), with the opposition of parked cars lacking common alignment. The only thing that I would ask is that the stanza somehow imply the quiet Sunday if possible, at least choosing to end on a more active or concrete phrase/image (i.e. the parked cars).

 

Finally (really): The most disturbing thing to me is the introduction of Andrew Johnson's tree. I find everything works literally and figuratively in this poem until I try to marry this (initially) dissonant concept. The first thing it does is make me reconsider my metaphorical assessment of the red and blue colors of the two birds, with distinctly American political, even potentially patriotic, undertones. But is it the red-white-and-blue of the flag at work here, or the opposing principal political parties currently governing the USA? Are we talking about the president who succeeded Lincoln, impeached for opposing many of that great man's reforms, including citizenship for former slaves? Interesting to place the tree in this neighborhood traditionally associated with black leaders, but does this tree actually exist and is it there? I can't confirm. And what are these reds and blues doing in a "rotting hedge"? As you can see, if you are making a political statement, after much effort I was not able to follow it. If not, what the hey? :-)

 

In my opinion, the poem is an excellent imagist work in the making. Perhaps it is intended to be more?

 

Thanks,

- Dave

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David W. Parsley

Oh, there was another point to consider: "spring". Traditional haiku utilizes "kigo" to imply season, rather than state it explicitly. Might you not also?

 

Running for the door now,

Dave

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I am honored that you took all this time on this small piece. You do not have to run for the door, haha.

 

Pining after William Carlos Williams? Very close to it, yes. I have solid, tactile, and olfactory memories of my first neighborhood, and sometimes they are just seconds in length.

 

The "image" may be better served in a completely different form. I used haiku to FORCE it into being compact, rather than risk rambling on and on. Dropping words would lose my 17 syllables; again, another form may have been proper.

 

The cardinal and bluejay incidents were rare. I definitely need to correct the verb tenses to be accurate. I never had any CONSCIOUS thought of a relation to patriotism. However, that's food for thought. Oh, and yes, the land on which the building my 485 sq ft condo was in WAS owned by THAT Andrew Johnson, the one after Lincoln. That was (IS, admittedly) probably too obscure. That tree COVERED my patio and my next door neighbor's patio: our condos were in the read of the building, in the alley between Corcoran St and Q ST. Yes, a HUGE limb crashed down one evening.

 

I am so appreciative of your time. I will come back to this later, perhaps changing nothing due to laziness, or scraping the form.

 

Hi dc, after further musing, I have come round to admiring (like Tony) this adaptation of a traditional form. I am taken with the imagist quality of the thing - vivid and tactile, so immediate you can smell it.

Innovating in the way the stanzas connect, the piece retains some very important aspects of haiku in each of those stanzas: emphasizes an aspect of nature, though artificial devices and constructions are also here; present tense; implied (rather than explicitly stated) season (exception discussed below); self-contained use of "kirej" presenting two distinct "cut" images (also with an exception.)

My initial feeling of incompleteness derives more from the poem's construction than its development. As I say above, this is a complete experience that appears to aim for a clarity and simplicity reminiscent of William Carlos Williams. I ask that you indulge a few suggestions.

First of all, I concur with Tony's appreciation of the "weighty spring rains", but differ on the effectiveness of its poetic realization here. For me, the second stanza is dictionally overloaded with piling on such words as "heavy", "bend", and "weighty": too much to ply a three line stanza. I recommend expunging adjectives and let the verb do the work.

Second (just turn the knob to OFF if you like, but I like the poem too much to shut up ;-): I think you can more cleanly express the coinciding arrivals of cardinal and bluejay. Again, a good rule of thumb from both your root genres, haiku and imagist poetry, is to avoid unnecessary adjectives, like "odd" and "stray". The immediacy can be improved with cleaner diction and movement.

Third (will this never end?? apologies...): The last stanza lacks the cutting action around two distinct images, but that seems perfectly okay here. For this reader, there is instead a juxtaposition of the quiet Sunday implying order and serenity (I can see reflecting puddles without ripples, don't know how you did it), with the opposition of parked cars lacking common alignment. The only thing that I would ask is that the stanza somehow imply the quiet Sunday if possible, at least choosing to end on a more active or concrete phrase/image (i.e. the parked cars).

Finally (really): The most disturbing thing to me is the introduction of Andrew Johnson's tree. I find everything works literally and figuratively in this poem until I try to marry this (initially) dissonant concept. The first thing it does is make me reconsider my metaphorical assessment of the red and blue colors of the two birds, with distinctly American political, even potentially patriotic, undertones. But is it the red-white-and-blue of the flag at work here, or the opposing principal political parties currently governing the USA? Are we talking about the president who succeeded Lincoln, impeached for opposing many of that great man's reforms, including citizenship for former slaves? Interesting to place the tree in this neighborhood traditionally associated with black leaders, but does this tree actually exist and is it there? I can't confirm. And what are these reds and blues doing in a "rotting hedge"? As you can see, if you are making a political statement, after much effort I was not able to follow it. If not, what the hey? :-)

In my opinion, the poem is an excellent imagist work in the making. Perhaps it is intended to be more?

Thanks,
- Dave

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David W. Parsley

Hi dc, I'm glad you are still working this "small" poem and am flattered that you consider my commentary worthy of helping your quest to perfect it. Forgive me if wasn't clear in the original communication, but I really like the traditional haiku elements that you retained in the original draft, including use of present tense. It makes the experience so immediate and vivid, concrete. Accordingly, I liked the concrete usage of "THIS quiet Sunday," more than the generalized "on quiet Sundays." I was just asking if the stanza could be rearranged to end on an image rather than a judgment phrase.

 

In the end, the poem is your creation, your "recollection in tranquility" to paraphrase Wordsworth. I just like it and really like its possibilities.

 

Many Thanks,

- Dave

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