The Daily…ish

Poetry and Miscellany

  • Poem

    Men say they know many things;
    But lo! they have taken wings—
    The arts and sciences,
    And a thousand appliances;
    The wind that blows
    Is all that any body knows.

    ~ Henry David Thoreau

    (in context)

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Floating Downriver

Posted by Matthew on March 28, 2007

I adore haiku. There, I said it. I’ve never had a particular love of lengthy poetry–chalk it up to taste, attention span, whatever–but that is not why I am drawn to the haiku. I love haiku because they are so pure, because their goal is so lofty for so few words, because when executed well, a haiku gives me the feeling that I possess all the time in the world and that the reason for that time is unimportant, just now.

Haiku are also perfect for–and I’m really not sure what to call this–public poetry. That is, if I wanted to post sheets of paper with poems written on them to make some kind of point, a haiku would make the most sense: it’s very, very short and lends itself to the public eye. I mean, how many billboards have you seen with fewer than 12 syllables? I’m talking about posting poetry in public places for the purpose of heightening poetic awareness, of course, and honestly the idea just occurred to me a moment ago (a mildly related thought: I’d also like to post muted post horns in all kinds of places, but that’s another topic).

I guess I’d have to write some haiku worth posting, first…

Poem: On a branch, by Kobayashi Issa
Thoreau: March 28, 1853


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