May 31, 2011
dies at dusk; all sight and sound
softens down to dark.
With this haiku I attempted something I call weaving using the ear candy of alliteration and assonance. They work together as the warp and weft of the sound-fabric of the poem, interconnecting the parts and imitating all – the center word of this haiku - of life that it attempts to depict.
So, more specifically, the repeated Ə sound in “abundant color” form a unit, as does the alliterative “dies at dusk,” “all sight and sound” and “down to dark.” These are then woven together in the following way:
1. “Abundant color” is joined to “die at dusk” by the assonance of the Ə sound in dusk.
2. “dies at dusk” is joined to “all sight and sound” by the assonance of dies and sight.
3. “all sight and sound” is woven into softens by both the alliterative s sound and the assonance of all and softens.
4. “down to dark” is connected back to “all sight and sound” by the assonance of down and sound.
5. “down to dark” is also connected back to “dies at dusk” by the alliterative d sound.
This haiku also is the latch for the May-month connecting back to the haiku of May 1 (“April Showers Bring…”) and closing the month-ring.
May 30, 2011
Follow your heart from
this columbine labyrinth
to set yourself free.
If you are following these haiku, you are in fact within a labyrinth and each day brings you closer to the center – the midpoint of the year – to the heart of the Daedalian structure. That is actually how this blog received its title, from the various circular paths that are being formed by the connections between the haiku.
Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from May 15 (“Labyrinth”). When you get to the center of the labyrinth, that is where you find your heart and the courage (etymology for courage = fr. L cor = heart) to find your way out again, to free yourself and be born again.
May 29, 2011
Red veins wriggle through
wild geranium petals
beseeching, “Come, bees!”
There must be something in our soil that loves our wild geraniums for they are growing wildly in our gardens. Not all the plants we have purchased since we have lived here have survived; some did not make it through their first winter’s dearth. Others petered out after a few years. But our wild geraniums in pink and purple variants have prospered with very little care. A few times even we have had to curb their enthusiasm to keep them from snuffing out less insistent blooms, but they do not seem to mind that either and just keep attracting those bees.
May 28, 2011
patterns replete with purpose
repeat round a rose.
Attraction. That is the purpose of the rose.
The rose is the flower of Aphrodite (Greek aphros = foam) or Venus (Roman), the goddess of love and beauty, and mythologically the flower first bloomed when Venus rose from the foam of the sea. The scene was elegantly depicted by Sandro Botticelli in his The Birth of Venus following the Homeric Hymn that described it:
“The breath if the west wind bore her
Over the sounding sea,
Up from the delicate foam,
To wave-ringed Cyprus, her isle.
And the Hours golden-wreathed
Welcomed her joyously.
They clad her in raiment immortal.
And brought her to the gods.”
In Botticelli’s painting appears pink roses from the left with the west wind Zephyrus.
When Christianity took over, the symbols and characteristics associated with Aphrodite/Venus slowly became associated with Mary (Mari – the Sea – being one of Aphrodite’s names). So the rose was handed down to Mary and became a symbol for her, and thus we have the rosary (an instrument of worship of the Rose) with its cycles of Hail Marys and the west-facing rose windows of the great “Our Lady” cathedrals.
Years ago when I was in the Uffizi in Florence, I was struck by the similarities of Venus in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1484-1486) and Mary in his Virgin and Child Attended by Four Angels and Six Saints (1487) that were on display in the same room. Their hair colors are identical as are the tilts of their heads, their arms and hands are in very similar positions (albeit holding Jesus in one of them) and the shell (below in one and above in the other) and roses (above the shell in the religious painting) appear in both.
May 27, 2011
The peony bursts:
its introspection becomes
This is the creative process: a close look inward into one’s own mind, to meditate on that which, if inward enough, must be ultimately the Creative Source and, from that Source, gathering and accepting as best one can all the armfuls of riches until they can no longer be held and spill over into the world.
May 26, 2011
The lessons are here
every round – if missed again,
notice them next time.
The real joy of teaching Shakespeare is that there is always more. No matter how many times you teach one of his plays, there is always more to mine, so that even after the hundredth time of reading it or seeing it performed, there are still golden nuggets that surprise. Then the difficult part is deciding what to include in the lesson.
Shakespeare is doing so many things simultaneously: writing in blank verse, developing an astonishing array of characters, advancing the action of the play, foreshadowing upcoming events, masterfully using a variety of imagery and poetic devices, and entertaining – a list impossible to appreciate the first time round.
Another thing that Shakespeare does is allow for the coughing of the audience. What? Yes. He knew play audiences get colds and made allowances. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. Almost every piece of important information is repeated by built-in redundancies, so if the groundling next to you has the sniffles or laughs too long at the ribald humor, you will still have a better than middling chance of catching up in a Shakespeare play.
May 25, 2011
Birdsong fills the dusk
with the purest evensong:
hymns without dogma.
Some years back my wife and I were in York Cathedral in the late afternoon and decided to attend their evensong. The service sounded beautiful with the brilliant acoustics in that majestic stone forest – a sacred space shaped by human hands.
The birds at dusk, however, celebrated in this haiku, sing a different song at least as holy, in a space at least as sacred, and it makes me ponder: What makes a space sacred? If a sacred space is a part of the world set apart for an exalted purpose, couldn’t and shouldn’t anywhere and everywhere be sacred space. If God is omnipresent, so must be sacred space (see February 10 “Omnipresent”). It is only dogma that attempts to limit or set apart and separate It from Itself.
May 24, 2011
Indigo bunting -
uncommon, distinguished guest:
abrupt blue on branch.
One does not expect to be surprised often by wildlife in one’s own backyard in town. This haiku, unfortunately, is only a memory. Although it did happen at this time of year, we have seen such a bird in our yard only once – several years ago. It left as abruptly as it arrived but the impression it left remains, doing for blue what the cardinal does for red or the goldfinch does for yellow. Being so rare, however, the impact is that much greater.
So here is a poem to honor its visit and to invite it or its descendants back again.
May 23, 2011
Leaves have filled the blanks.
Now I only see the now:
this yard and this sky.
In the winter from our home we can see the vast areas before or behind us and, with the garden inactive, we have time to plan the future or ponder the past.
Now in spring the leaves slowly construct a visual wall that blocks the view to the undulating hills; and as summer approaches, the last holes in the wall are patched. We needn’t plan or ponder. We needn’t look forward or back. We may live in this moment.
May 22, 2011
Silent white flashes
wake a distant dream.
Growing up, I often heard the term “heat lightning” to describe the thunderless flashes on the horizon. We could see such “heat lightning” at the end of the adjacent street from our screened front door or through our picture window in our living room.
It was adults who told us what it was called – lightning without an accompanying thunderstorm created by a hot and humid summer night. As it turns out, that was just an old wives tale. “Heat lightning” is actually a thunderstorm, like any other, but it is too far away for our feeble hearing, too distant for the sound to find its way through the labyrinth of our inner ear.