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Friday, February 29, 2008

leap day

leap day
another down day
on the stock market

w. f. owen

Thursday, February 28, 2008

spinning globe

long day
his finger slows
the spinning globe

w. f. owen

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the fence builder

lighting one cigarette with another the fence builder

w. f. owen

Monday, February 25, 2008

soap bubbles

soap bubbles and giggles float over the fence

w. f. owen

Sunday, February 24, 2008

coming of age

coming of age
spring gusts
puff his shirt

w. f. owen

Saturday, February 23, 2008

the frog's blink

Excerpt from haiku notebook (p. 17):


I'd rather be out playing with my teen
cousins, but papa wants me to read over
his ledger. In it is listed the yards he mowed
and edged along with the amounts he was paid.
He needs to not make too much. Something to
do with Social Security and what he gets from
his railroad retirement. He always picks me
to help him because he poked out one eye
long ago with a pocket knife and has trouble
reading. He can't claim too much or they'll
cut back on his retirement. Hard to believe.
Owning only a few shirts, wearing the off-white
thermal underwear that sticks out of the frayed
sleeves. I write the names and amounts large
so he can read them, then go out to play.

humid stillness
in the bush
the frog's blink

w. f. owen

Friday, February 22, 2008

the old dog

the old dog's quick burst of speed early spring

w. f. owen

Thursday, February 21, 2008

lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse
my neighbor
dumps her garbage

w. f. owen

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

lemonade stand

abandoned lemonade stand a rain-filled cup

w. f. owen

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

spring flu

spring flu
fever broken
she hums

w. f. owen

Monday, February 18, 2008

first robin

hopping between
patches of frost
first robin

w. f. owen

Sunday, February 17, 2008

haiku of the day

thin white clouds
pulling weeds
root and all

w. f. owen

Saturday, February 16, 2008

haiku of the day

long day
cranking and cranking
the lawn mower

w. f. owen

Friday, February 15, 2008

one line haiku or three?

You have seen several haiku here in one line.
Most are in three lines. I wonder how much of
the practice of three-line haiku involves habit.
True, some poems have natural breaks in this
form. I worry, though, if we allow a practice
to become ingrained, the structure dictates the
content. I know that sometimes I write a one-line
haiku because it reinforces the meanings of the
words:

another argument unfolds the futon

There is a wonderful little book by Hosai Ozaki
titled: Right under the big sky, I don't wear a hat
(Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 1993). All of
the poems are in one horizontal line. The translator,
Hiroaki Sato, discusses lineation in this book,
noting that breaking up original one-line poems
into two or three lines "may be not only unjustifiable
but also misleading" (p. 21). I am not sure of the
ultimate "correctness" of this issue. I do know that
where (if at all) a poem breaks (into lines) guides
its reading and, therefore, its interpretation.

Sometimes, I cannot find a "clean" break to
a new line:

early spring
the crossing guard's
smile

So, I think just write it as one line to avoid the
awkwardness of where to put the line break.
Also, since crossing the street is a horizontal
activity, one line evokes that feeling better:

early spring the crossing guard's smile

Incidentally, I struggled a bit on whether to
make it:

early spring the crossing guard smiles

Perhaps there is not much difference between
the two, but it shows the difficulty of writing
haiku even though, as some people tease me,
it's "only a few words."

Graves . . .

waiting for visitors. Like sentries.
Erect, hard and tough. The new recruits
easy to spot. Sharp-cut letters and numbers.
A grit of stone to the touch. Clean, some shiny,
unworn, unweathered. Among them the old salts,
the short-timers, the lifers. They crumble, they lean.

fallen headstone the letters fill with rain


w. f. owen
(haiku notebook, p. 13)

This is an excerpt from my book that is a haibun--a piece of prose
along with at least one haiku. The meanings of each interplay and
enrich the overall effect readers get. The idea is to be an opening
of meaning potentials, rather than to give a story ending. I
suppose in this way haibun are different from the structure
of short stories. The latter seem to offer more
closure than haibun. So, if reading a haibun leaves
you wondering or thinking--perhaps even needing
to return to the written piece again and again--that
is an effective work.

Some writers, including myself, enjoy the larger canvas
provided by haibun. The prose or narrative allow more vivid
language and even metaphors, which generally are not
permitted among most modern haiku. (Of course, there
are exceptions to every rule. I am asserting a general norm
here). However, at least one haiku--a good haiku--is needed
to pull together an effective haibun. So, in my various editorial
roles, I recommend writers first "master" haiku. (Can you ever
truly "master" anything?).

Simply Haiku Journal

A very useful web journal for haiku and related
forms is simply Haiku. Check out the latest issue:

http://www.poetrylives.com/SimplyHaiku/SHv6n1/index-issue.html

One of my poems republished there:

divorced
she cleans the ring
around the tub

w. f. owen

haiku of the day

February sky
the contrail
cuts the moon

w. f. owen

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day
the red of her blush
matches her dress

w. f. owen

haiku of the day

spring gusts
a boy chases homework
drops more

w. f. owen

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

haiku of the day

spring
the new broom
pushes back

w. f. owen

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

haiku of the day

spring thunder
slight cracks in the
swollen tree buds

w. f. owen

Monday, February 11, 2008

haiku of the day

spring sunshine
even the sparrows
notice the robin

w. f. owen

Sunday, February 10, 2008

haiku of the day

slow day
under the willow
a fisherman dozes

w. f. owen

Saturday, February 9, 2008

haiku of the day

warm spring night
the sputter of
an outboard motor

w. f. owen

Friday, February 8, 2008

haiku of the day

lingering day
two basketballs
caught in the net

w. f. owen

Thursday, February 7, 2008

haiku of the day

every day more daylight i cut my nails

w. f. owen

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

haiku of the day

spring funeral
the tree buds
half open

w. f. owen

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

haiku of the day

spring morning
weeding the garden
wearing a sweatshirt

w. f. owen

Monday, February 4, 2008

haiku of the day

early spring
removing another layer
of clothing

w. f. owen

Sunday, February 3, 2008

haiku of the day

the nail half hammered partly cloudy today

w. f. owen

Saturday, February 2, 2008

haiku of the day

walking home from school
sweatshirts around their waists
spring

w. f. owen

Friday, February 1, 2008

haiku of the day

between storms children retake the street

w. f. owen