Fireflies and Haiku

With the new month comes yet another haiku from the endlessly talented Issa. Enjoy!

“A giant firefly
wavers this way and that way-
look – it flies away.”

— Issa (1765-1826)

“Flowers of Spring” Haiku

Today marks the first day of May, and with it comes an introduction to yet another talented word artist, Onitsura.

“Eyes, back and forth,
nose, up and down–
the flowers of spring!”

— Onitsura (1660-1738)

No Time

XXII

“I HAD no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

“Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.”

— Emily Dickinson

“Holy” Thursday?

I am an avid fan of William Blake’s work, and love the juxtaposition of messages in his two famous poetry collections, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. As today is Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, and April is National Poetry Month, I thought it only appropriate to share with you his Songs of Experience poem “Holy Thursday”. After reading this, I invite you to read the version he wrote in his Songs of Innocence collection – it has quite a different connotation and message! This poem can be found here.

Holy Thursday

Is this a holy thing to see
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!

And their sun does never shine,
And their fields are bleak and bare,
And their ways are filled with thorns:
It is eternal winter there.

For where’er the sun does shine,
And where’er the rain does fall,
Babes should never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appall.

— William Blake

A Haiku For Every Season

April has just begun and spring is most definitely here (it may even stay). What better way to celebrate this than with an introduction to yet another talented haiku artist and a rather fitting example of his craft?

“Cherry blooms are falling–
and now between the trees,
a temple appears.”

Buson (1715-1783)

Economy

Taken from the poem, Economy

                                  “These days
only a word can earn overtime.
Economy: once a net, now a handful of holes.
Economy: what a man moves with
when, even in sleep, he is trying to save
all there is left to save.”

–Sandra Beasley

Reflections of a Self-Titled “Nobody”

XXVII

“I’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”

–Emily Dickinson

What, and who, is a “nobody”?  We have always been told that the secret to success is becoming “somebody” – that our goal should be to seek fame, fortune, and, subsequently, happiness.  And what good are fame and fortune without the ability to share (show them off) with others?  To be a somebody is to be in the public’s eye, and a slave to the opinions of others.  The word “nobody” has always had a more negative connotation – a “nobody” is without friends, without success, and without a future.  A “nobody” is always alone.

I, on the other hand, like to interpret the word “nobody” as being a synonym for the words “unique” or “individual”.  “Somebodies” surround themselves with like-minded people – the polar opposite of being unique.  A “nobody” is an individual, capable of speaking and thinking for themselves.  Of course, according to Emily Dickinson, you are never really alone.  Every time I read this poem, I always picture her asking the questions “who are you”, and “are you nobody, too” of her image in the mirror.  As her reflection is as much a “nobody” as she is, the two of them would make quite the “pair”.  Now, as for her fear of being “banished”: a mirror was often one of the instruments used in banishing spells, according to urban lore.  The reflection would not be the only thing “banished” if the “they”, or “somebodies”, of the poem were successful in doing away with all of the “nobodies”.

In the second part of the poem, a negative slant is placed on the term “somebody” rather than the word “nobody”.  Being a “somebody” is to be “dreary” and a member of the “public” – to be a small part of a group instead of an individual.  You are like a “frog”, a small creature most known for its flashy coloring and loud vocals (much like a jester, or a class clown).  The only way you are able to bring attention to yourself is in what you wear and how loudly you speak – not with what you say.  The image of the “public” is juxtaposed with that of a “bog” (swamp), the natural home for the noisy “frog”.  The “somebody” spends their “livelong days” “telling their name” to this “admiring bog” in hopes of garnering the most attention and popularity – earning a place in the spotlight.

While there is nothing wrong with being a “somebody” (or a “frog”), I am far more content remaining a “nobody”.  I am an individual, with my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own mind.  I am proud to be a “nobody”, are you?

Previous Older Entries