Sunday, August 19, 2012

Patrick Sweeney: Ten Haiku

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - from 100 Aspects of the Moon

I've corresponded with, and published the work of, Patrick Sweeney for many years, going all the way back to issue #28 of Lilliput Review, which came out in February 1992. He is one of the poets I admire most working in the short form today, specifically haiku.

We went back and forth many months in the selection of the poems that follow. Serendipity entered into that selection: some unintended negligence on the part of the editor and an understandably natural reluctance on the part of the poet.

It seems to me that the balance of all these factors makes for a very fine set of poems, indeed. I'm going to abstain from my usual commentary and let the works speak for themselves, except to say, thank you, Patrick, very much.

My ecclesia
blue pine shadow
fused to snow

Infinite kalpas
of bone and flesh alleles
the dew drenched clover

Scent of burning leaves
the four chambers
of my heart

Half her face scorched
the Nagasaki Virgin
only stone

Sweet vernal grasses
what it has taken
to kneel

Shadows of mimosa
the Himalayan blue
probabilities of ×

Smithy of beaten stars
in the amalgams
of his haw-haw

House mosquito
to my only son

Lime tree
in the field
of one shoe

Green light on new snow
the short wavelength
of the divine

Photo by Norah Sweeney

cicada in the pine
listening to the sutra
is born
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Anonymous said...

great selection, guys! -- Jose Angel Araguz

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Jose, many thanks! Don (for Patrick)

Charles Gramlich said...

What wonderful pieces. I haven't been as impressed with a series since I don't know when. Gonna check out more of his work.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Very glad to hear it, Charles. The link takes you to past posts with more of Patrick's work.

Ed Baker said...

P.S.' use of the tool - Imagination- has taken him far beyond any demands by a literary ego or self-gratuitious position (no needs in his work here)
calling out for... prestige

he is on solid ground .... using Imagination/words
through these 'shorties' to understand and emphasize
(these certain) aspects of "things".

neat "run" here...


he and y'all might enjoy Sangharakshita's
"Re-Imagining The Buddha"

which just this morning I've come-upon.

Anonymous said...


here is link to that essay:

snowbird said...

Hi, Don, Thanks for this collection. Each one a bit more of the diving board to the unconscious in each one... until I came to "nalf her face scorched"... and the face of a ten year old boy I knew - who had survived he blitz in England became the face of that poem. These are stunning. Thanks, Merrill

laurie kuntz & Steven said...

WOW, I know Pat Sweeney , haiku master extraordinaire, and these are among his most splendid and sterling haiku.
Kudos to Sweeney-san

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Ed. Opened the Sangharakshita and smacked into the Animism section, which I'd just been in deep reading of with Mr. Blyth. Oh, how the web trembles with dew ...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Merrill, Patrick's work runs deep ... glad it touched you.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Laurie/Steven ... welcome, it is fine work, indeed. Don

old pajamas said...

I taste these poems, dropped from a Buddha-tree. Thank you.....pajamas

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

op,a little synthesia it's the spot ... glad you liked.