Thursday, November 11, 2004

veterans day

Veterans day
new leaves cover
last year's debris

3 Comments:

Blogger duchamp said...

i posted this to "haikutalk2" and received a number of ideas.

one was that "new" made the leaves seem like spring leaves.

another was that how did i know it was covering last year's debris...it could be a mix...

needless to say, i was left with the feeling that often comes to me after i think i have a really good haiku, then realize from the comments that it isn't good at all.

this brought me to thinking about something jane reichhold mentioned to me a long long time ago...i don't remember the exact words, but they were to the effect that when you write haiku, they have a certain meaning to you, and that particular meaning is important...more than what it means to other people. it may never mean the same to other people.

it didn't help me in the case of this haiku though...i still thought it wound up not working...

4:03 PM  
Blogger sangeet said...

Dear John,
This Haiku works for me, and I would class it an effective Haiku! A strong image comes to my mind - but whether this is the image you intended, I do not know. That's not important though, because we do not all perceive in the same way..
I find it evocative.
I believe you will find equal nos of people for whom the Haiku resonates as those who find it ambiguous. Ultimately we make judgment calls as to whether we have given enough of a description for our intended meaning to come through, and therefore whether the Haiku can stand alone. I feel you have succeeded here.
More please :)

Sangeet

11:08 AM  
Blogger extraspecialbitter said...

John - I wasn't confused by the new / last year references in this haiku. When I comment on someone's haiku, it's usually with the intent of clarification, but here there is no need (IMHO) to sharpen the focus.

"last year's debris" is, as was pointed out by someone else, an editorial "footnote" added by the poet, who may or may not know the exact origin of the debris. Does that diminish the impact of this haiku? I don't think it does.

So it's your prerogative as the author to decide whether or not to appropriate these critiques. You may wish to choose "gold" or "golden" instead of "new" to distinguish the leaves from spring leaves, although one would think that "Veterans day" would establish the season as fall, and that any description of leaf color would actually be redundant. You may want to opt out of the controversy altogether and just drop the word "new", but I can see that you are using it to contrast with the older debris.

"last year's debris" may be problematic to literalists, so I'd take their criticisms with a grain of salt. You're trying to compare the regularity and transience of the seasons with the relative permanance and randomness of debris. I'm not quite sure how to do this, or if it even really needs to be done. I'm thinking of third lines like "the padlocked playground" or "tenement rubble", none of which convey what your original does.

Suffice to say, I think it's worth either defending or refining this haiku. Both can be accomplished via a haibun (which could explain how you know the debris is from last year), but I don't believe it needs much work - just a more sympathetic eye.

11:21 AM  

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