Sunday, March 15, 2015

John Martone: a sailing book

John Martone never ceases to amaze and possibly the primary reason for this is that he never ceases to surprise, and be surprised.

As happens whenever one of John's books arrives in the mail, I look forward very much to reading and learning from one of the master poets of the short-short form. When I saw the title of this one, a sailing book, I thought, oh, this will be good fun. 

Really, I had no idea.

(If I might digress a moment ... I can see, or maybe I should say hear, you smiling, you long-suffering reader of this blog ... Still, I should mention by way of a disclaimer that, though I don't have much by way of sea legs, I did live in a bungalow right on the eastern edge of our drifting continent for over ten years.

So, really, I should have had some idea.

Thanks for your patience - digression complete.)

The poetry that grabbed me particularly in a sailing book was, of course, the work that didn't go directly over my head, in this case the nautical stuff. It is enough, however, to have a hint of the nautical and, if you are a brief poem fan, this will be right up your tributary.

That's right, with just a hint of nautical experience (long walks on a nearly deserted beach, anyone?) I'll wager you'll still be truly knocked out.

Try these two:

hills around
the lake
slower waves

Right about now, I'm thinking you've got the idea. If you ever puzzled over the wave/particle theory conundrum, this is another angle to come at it from.

Then there's this (italics and font size not in error):

sailors' home
everywhere you look
buddha's image

R. H. Blyth, via Bashō, posited the idea of haiku as a Way to transcendence, for both reader and poet alike, a la The Way of Tea, The Way of the Samurai, and The Way of Flowers (Ikebana). The moment I read this poem I had a feeling, a rare surging feeling of truth, a substantive confirmation of poetry, of haiku, as a path, a way.

If you've ever been in a sailor's home, or even work shack ... well, yes. No image or icon necessary.

The poem that prompted me to ask John if I might discuss a sailing book, and post a couple of poems here on the Hut, was the following modern haibun (included as a photo because I couldn't replicate the layout here - please click to enlarge):

Click image to enlarge

"... Hubble clouds, a million pavilions of a hundred jewels can you see ..." 

Oh, yes, yes ...

There is so much in this fine, precise collection by John that, really, I can't say enough so I will leave it here. 

The work, like many of John's books, is available for a modest price: in this case, $5. 

a sailing book is worth every cent, and much, much more. 

Art from the Internet Book Images
a wind-blown boat
a skylark
crossing paths

trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku 


G said...

you've got my interest. i've always liked john's poems when i saw them in magazines.
- Greg

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hey, Greg ... it is a very interesting collection, indeed. I am a great admirer of John's work. Don