In this spot I will add my own comments on poems that ‘interested’ me in the most recent edition . They may be the ‘best’, but ones that somehow moved me personally. Since it is totally subjective any work included on this page may reveal more about my own thoughts than those of the poet. I hope you enjoy these peeks in my psyche.
Maya Lyubenova submitted a stunning series of haiga for Issue 3. They are worth considering carefully, and as a group. This is a tour de force in modern haiga. Please take a minute to enjoy the efforts she has expended in this fine series.
a mosquito comes back
for hair of the dog
by: Terri French
This poem illustrates the ‘thin line’ between senryu and haiku. The ‘mosquito’ is a summer kigo, and provides a perfect seasonal reference, so this could easily be a haiku by anyone’s definition. But, there is that ‘hangover’ in the first line. Is the poet the one hungover? Or is it the mosquito? The last line provides hints at an answer, it is both! Now, how could the poet know that it was the same mosquito, no way that could be true. But, it is equally improbable that the mosquito could identify its conquest from the night before either. So, in the totality of this poem, we discover a double dose of irony and irrationality, with booze the possible source of both the poet and the mosquito’s meeting. An improbable mosquito, and an equally improbable human, both with a memory of last night’s wine. There is a weary humor in this one that captivates the reader. Too bad about that hangover, but there is a zen like oneness in the fact that a human and a mosquito could both share the same intentions, and a beverage on a summer night.
rolling suitcase …
the homeless woman passes
as one of us
by: Karen Cesar
There is a wonderful ‘reality’ in this poem. It is often said that we avert our eyes from the homeless, and that is certainly an issue, but within this senryu it is also possible to see that this woman wants to be seen as ‘one of us’. Such a deep truth, that the homeless don’t want to be seen that way, regardless of the many factors that put their situation out of their own control. What a glimpse this poem provides us of ‘both sides’ of this issue. Something very touching has been released in just fifteen syllables.
toy soldiers —
the grandkids playing
By: Brendon Kent
At first reading this is a very well crafted poem. It is simple and direct, and the image is one we can all relate to. Children playing with toy soldiers is as old as civilization, which in itself is odd in that we so commonly associate soldiers with being ‘civilized’. But here the ‘grandkids’ are playing the part of refugees. How strange you might think at first, but children intuitively understand the plight of the refugee. This is true because children can relate to ‘not being in total control’ of their own lives. We direct their every movement, tell them when to sleep, when to wake, what to eat, and where they have to go. Their movements, actions, speech, and diet are all controlled by outsiders, benevolent outsiders in most cases, but still controlling. They are our own miniature refugees living among us, persons who have not yet been freed to act, move, and even think on their own. I will be reminded of this poem now every time the word refugee is spoken. The poem moved my thoughts and understanding on the subject that greatly.