Friday, February 13, 2009

For some reason, I was thinking last night about an old haiku:

magnolia blooming
snow draped kitchen window spring
my Missouri mind

and trying to remember how I handled the juxtaposition of imagery. Now that I look back at it, I'm not sure I like the way it worked out. I think I might prefer the slightly more straightforward

snow draped magnolia
bloom in kitchen window spring
my Missouri mind

Update: Or maybe this?

snow-draped magnolia
bloom in Missouri spring like
my Missouri mind

which is a little closer to what I was going for with the original, but could never quite achieve within the constraints of the form, or without being pedantic. But I'm flirting with pedantic here, as well. Could be unachievable. Maybe just the image:

fresh magnolia bloom
covered in snow outside through
kitchen window steam

Yeah, I like that better. I hate it when write a poem that feels like it's saying, "Do you get it? Huh? Do ya?" And the idea that the external, natural world mirrors the internal mental and emotional one is implicit in the haiku form, so why articulate it. And once I remove that, I end up with room for more imagery, introducing elements of domesticity and separation, in addition to the weather motifs.

Here I go explaining again. Somebody stop me.


Anonymous said...

How about:
Snow draped Magnolia
bloom in the kitchen window;
spring blossums in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, 6 syllables in last line. Oops.

Could be spring blossums my mind or spring wakens my mind.

Mike said...

See, that's the problem with trying to go pedantic in a small form like haiku.

The fact that it's snow on top of a bloom could be interpreted as being about the persistence of winter, or that it's blooming through the snow could be about the implacability of spring, but the original idea is really much more about the constancy of change.

Which is why I think I just want to present the image, and let the reader, well, read into it what they want. That is, really, what haiku is all about. But I still want to mess with the wording in order to tweak the emotional tenor:

day old magnolia
bloom piled with snow through steamy
kitchen window pane