Earlier this fall I came upon two domestic geese biding their time in the middle of the road. They had wandered from a nearby farm yard.
Two white geese,
honking on side road,
My feeble car honks had no impact, except to inform the driver behind me that there was a reason I had stopped. In moments, the other driver gaily walked by my window informing me she was ‘experienced’. It was a pleasure to behold: she waddled towards the geese and they promptly marched off the road.
Feathered tourists gaze,
waddling moves webbed feet.
I put this event on a back-burner about a month ago. When I saw a classical haiku writing tip on Heeding Haiku by Chèvrefeuille I decided to revisit a haiku I had scribbled. While I don’t always aspire to abide by classical form, I feel there is much to be learned from Masters. The writing tip is called ‘mixing it up’:
What is meant here is mixing up the action so the reader does not know if nature is doing the acting or if a human is doing it. As you know, haiku are praised for getting rid of authors, authors’ opinions, and authors’ action. One way to sneak this in is to use the gerund (-ing added to a verb) combined with an action that seems sensible for both a human and for the nature/nature to do. Very often when you use a gerund in a haiku you are basically saying, “I am. . . ” making an action but leaving unsaid the “I am”. The Japanese language has allowed poets to use this tactic so long and so well that even their translators are barely aware of what is being done. It is a good way to combine humanity’s action with nature in a way that minimizes the impact of the author but allows an interaction between humanity and nature.