Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2007, vol 5 no 1

HAIBUN

Tango
Ferenc Bakos

 

For days – even in the company of our noisy vacuum cleaner or while cracking nuts – an old honeyed melody keeps haunting me from the past. I simply cannot get it out of my head and have to sing it aloud:

Desire trembles on the rhythm of the song
Oh carnival, oh carnival!

What is the story behind this uninvited guest? I must find out drifting back in time and seeing myself nearly fifty years ago . . . I was a boy in the awkward age then and at the carnival ball I managed to get the “slow dance” with my schoolmistress. In fact, we hated each other with a passion at the time: once I dropped my eraser at her feet so that I could check her undies. She turned purple with anger and hissed: “You monkey-cheek!” Now, at the ball, I was holding her tight and probably crooned into one of her shapely little, fragrant ears:

So are hatched many odd romances
In Mexico in the middle of the night…

She blushed. “You dance tango very maturely, monkey-cheek!” She smiled and embraced me warmly.

…But by the rising light of dawn
The hope glides away – and the love…

Many years later I happened to participate in an impromptu dance lesson:

                                a hundred men
                                back away from a hundred women
                                in tango steps

(the prose is translated from Hungarian by Kati Beetles)


Ferenc Bakos has been a haijin - a Hungarian one - for 25 years. By the invitation of the late Sato Kazuo, he is a charter member of HIA. He published haiku in English in Manichi Daily News and HI in Japan, and in anthologies (e.g. Higginson's World Haiku, page 78). In his profession (electrical engineering) he has visited several deserts. Parents of three adult-children, he and his wife, Margo, live at the Hungarian Sea (alias Lake Balaton).

Ferenc Bakos

The author with his wife, Margo, who gave him his first haiku book twenty-five years ago.