Autumn - that time of the year when this classic song by Paul Simon, performed by Simon and Garfunkel, comes to mind. Slight breezes and strong winds, beautiful clouds flying by.
For the composer, thoughts echo and swell, from Tolstoy to Tinker Bell ... which gives Cloudy it's litrock cred and beautiful resonance.
Cloudy The sky is gray and white and cloudy, Sometimes I think it's hanging down on me. And it's a hitchhike a hundred miles. I'm a rag-a-muffin child. Pointed finger-painted smile. I left my shadow waiting down the road for me a while.
Cloudy My thoughts are scattered and they're cloudy, They have no borders, no boundaries. They echo and they swell From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell. Down from Berkeley to Carmel. Got some pictures in my pocket and a lot of time to kill.
Hey sunshine I haven't seen you in a long time. Why don't you show your face and bend my mind? These clouds stick to the sky Like floating questions, why? And they linger there to die. They don't know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.
And where there is autumn, can winter be far behind. Here's another Paul Simon number, performed live by the scintillating band, The Bangles. Though it doesn't make the list of litrock songs, it sure makes a fine, rocking companion piece:
L. A. Davidson was a poet whose work I have admired through the years. In fact, her's may have been among the first western haiku I encountered. Below are a handful of poems from these few blocks: a posthumous collection, published in the red moon press postscripts series (volume 6).
Color and tactility, shape and suggestion are hallmarks of this fine work. The poems are deeply meditative, certainly for the poet and most certainly for the perceptive reader. Copies are still available for $7 from red moon.
This is the way every poet would like to be remembered.
On the gray church wall the shadow of a candle . . . shadow of its smoke
adobe courtyard the color of red dirt sifting into it
On Kleenex used to remove a moth, the gray dust.
an old farmstead bought for investment; the wild columbine
winter morning without leaf or flower the shape of the tree
What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.
Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.
Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!
Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.
Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us."
— Laurie Anderson his loving wife and eternal friend
to saintly eyes
they are bodhisattvas...
Reading is, in a sense, a communion with self. Cherie Hunter Day is a fine tanka and haiku poet whose work I always enjoy reading precisely because I find myself going inward to search out both completion and meaning: completion of the work at hand, as some of the finest haiku let a reader's experience temper the direction of the work, and meaning, in the looking inward sense, where a spark is set off by the friction of haiku's traditionally disparate elements.
Her new collection, apology moon, from red moon press, is contemplative in the best senses of the word, as in searching, understanding, and revealing. The first poem is a moment perfectly realized, grammatically
looking up rules of punctuation — green hills
and otherwise. This is truly a poem the reader completes. At first, it seems as though it might be a glib, throwaway image, but the longer one thinks, the deeper one goes.
There are other rules beyond grammar.
insomnia two parts doubt one part moon
We've all had this experience, at least those who have a conscience, and perhaps even those who don't. Though the phrasing is so precise as to be almost aphoristic, ultimately what emanates from these lines is truth, truth and nature.
azaleas as afterthought as afterword
What might this be about, eh? Again, there is almost a glibness here. In addition, I had to go back and read the last word more than once because I found myself saying in my mind "afterwards." The persistence of this mistake is, I think, significant, adding a possible 6th word to a 5 word poem that has something of a short story quality about it. And something more.
cranial sutures the continents no longer fit together
Telescoping is one of the most effective techniques the purveyor of the brief form can use - from the particular to the universal, 3/5ths of a mile in 10 seconds. There is an ominous quality on both levels, or threads, of this ku, and, in a sense, a soothing one, too.
before us the wind inside milkweed
can mean so many things, can it not? And, yes, there might be another
touch of telescoping here because, with the wind and the milkweed, there
might just be a sort of chicken and the egg conundrum.
And then there is the literal - what the wind does with seed pods.
middle age I believe the azaleas pink lies
Might this not be chapter two, or part two, of the "short story" noted above? I can imagine that, somewhere between afterthought and afterword (and right around afterwards), is the middle age revelation of deceit.
But surely this is a reader bringing her interpretation? What has this to do with these poems?
red woods — the tour bus waits for us
Time has put its stamp all over this poem - take away for the tourist is revelation ... if you want it.
hot flash all of the lily pads touching
If you've never had a hot flash, boyfriend, certainly you could pass on this. But if you have, you know truth.
salt wind ripples on an inner lake
Here is dovetailing or telescoping or whatever you want to label it, used to perfection to illustrate, among other things (i.e. like its point), the relevance and power of the monostitch as an important contemporary form.
donating my son's cello — red leaves in the wind
There are so many possibilities in this particular ku I'll leave it to you, reader, to finish it as you will.
red moon press continues to put out some of the most outstanding volumes of haiku being published today. Grab a copy of apology moon, a little small press gem. It will light up your autumn evening sky.