April 3rd, 2009


Poetry Friday -- Haiku 3

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.

-- Issa

Lighting one candle
with another candle --
spring evening.

-- Bason

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.

-- Basho

When I got married, one of my sisters-in-law gave me a book of haiku -- Hass' The Essential Haiku --
as a gift, the day before the wedding.
At the time, I thought it was a lovely gesture.
Something like being given a flower that would last awhile.

But recently I've thought about how appropriate it was as a message, a symbol.

When we make families there is something very pure at the center of the implulse.
Something simple.
Like love.

But the reality is that life instantly becomes a whole lot more complicated.
Decisions that previously might have been singular must now be weighed and shared.
Where there was previously one family, now there are two.
(Or rather, three, if you count the newly formed one.
Which, considering the occasion, I guess you ought to.)
And, sometimes, the transition is quickly followed by others (like home ownership... like parenthood)
that come bearing big responsibilities.

So, haiku on the eve of marriage says, "Don't forget to clear away all the overwhelm sometimes. To notice the cherry blossoms and cicadas. To light the candles." Haiku says that on the eve of marriage, the morning of a meeting, the Friday afternoon of a very long week. Don't you think?

Haiku 3

Oh, furtive bluejay
helping yourself to cat food;
today is all yours

-- Liz Garton Scanlon