a small space
between wit and wonder
left vacant

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Maple Leaf

Someone tells me that there are a lot of books showcasing haiku as a vibrant relevant genre that is not caught in a time trap. He emphatically states, “It goes against being a poet to be restricted to a single view of haiku.” His words belittle, believing he knows my mind . . . that retaining conditions by which haiku is a distinctive genre somehow limits his ‘freedom’. The topic has switched from haiku to the speaker’s sense of freedom. The prompts are reminiscent of revolutionary times a hundred years ago, when haiku was emerging in the West and revulsion peaked in railing against formal necessities. The upheaval of that time manifested in certain rationalizations, for instance, in the Japanese belief that blood type had something to do with feeling ––– people with Blood Type B were the most susceptible to a revolutionary spirit because they were a small minority in the sea of Type A ‘happy personalities’.

In the Russia of a hundred years ago Boris Pasternak began to write contrary to the accepted socialist realism by focusing concern on the welfare of individual characters. His point is squarely made in the poignant scene in his “Dr. Zhivago” when Yuri Zhivago first meets his half brother:

Yuri: You’re just as I imagined. You're my political conscience.

Yevgraf: (I asked him hadn’t he one of his own. [Yuri laughs and then talks seriously.] And so he talked about the revolution. . . )
Yevgraf: - it’s surgery. It’s genius. (Mischievous) Only genius could be so clumsy. You lay life on a table and you cut out all the tumors of injustice.

Yuri: Ah. But that’s a deep operation. Someone must keep Life alive while you do it. By living. (Gently) Isn’t that right?

Yevgraf: ( I thought then it was wrong.)

first leaf falls -
as the maple goes dormant
let’s tap it

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