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Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2009, vol 7 no 4
 

HAIKU
 

_kala

 

Remarks

 

_kala Mulla Nasrudin* is sitting in the village square one evening plucking the strings of the sitar. Gradually, as expected a circle of friends gather around him. He keeps on strumming just one note. Finally, one villager musters enough courage to inquire, "That is a very nice note you are playing, Mulla, but most of the musicians use all the notes. Why don't you?"
"They are still searching for the note," says the Mulla calmly, "I have found it.''

Isn't haiku all about,
                                 the art of saying more
                                 while saying less?

And, apart from its striking imagery, what I find most fascinating in haiku, is the contrapuntal use of 'solid' and 'vacant' spaces to create wholeness, the sense of balance and thereby a unity. Contrapuntal means having two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together. Again, these quarter pauses, half pauses and full pauses embedded in a haiku, intrigue me greatly — for the silences they hold give emotion to the written word, like the silences in music . . . In both, I believe there is a resonance that lingers in the spirit long after the sound has faded.
Of the 25 haiku poems chosen for this collection, 20 are previously published, representing all the five years of my life as a haiku poet.

                                                         _kala
                                                         Pune, India

Haiku

 

dense fog . . .
I dream walk
my sense of I

in the darkness
of womb, a life swims
into my life

lotus leaf . . .
a water droplet rolls
the moon

thunderclap
the darkening sky splits into
liquid night

I fold in
the rose petals . . .
mother's sari

in the wake of dawn
harvest songs sung
in childhood

summer moon
a wave's white foam
glazes the rock

the child-like joy
seeing a star streak
a new moon sky

weathered field —
slowly coming to terms
with my aborted child

harvesting grapes . . .
the season slips through
her fingers

forest walk —
a spider's shadow
climbs the tree

       wading through
leaves . . . with each step
the thoughts

howling wind —
an autumn note within
the bamboo flute

   trying to know me
deep within me
      autumn day

winter loneliness:
the sofa she vacates
holds her shape

winter rain
colder than ever
this bowl of rice

flies
even inside the temple:
issa

mountain bridge —
I pass through
         the clouds

desert sands . . .
I enter the whole
of nothingness

the suddenness
of scented breath
night jasmine

mango blossoms
a welcoming
silence

Indian dance recital:
long plaited hair in step
with her hips

taking flight —
a butterfly shrugs off
its shadow

between the birth
   and cry of my baby
my breath

slicing wind
   the skylark alone
knows the pull

 

Notes:
*Mullah Nasrudin was a populist philosopher and wise man, loved for his humorous stories and anecdotes.

Publication Credits (1st publication):
"dense fog" (Simply Haiku, Summer 09);"in the darkness" (Simply Haiku, Summer 09); "lotus leaf" †(Annual Selection 2008, Mainichi Daily News); "thunderclap" (Presence, Spring 09); "in the wake of dawn" (Notes From the Gean, June 09); "summer moon" (Simply Haiku, Summer 08); "weathered field" (World Haiku Review, Spring 09 & Shintai, The Ten Best, Third Prize); "harvesting grapes" (Magnapoets, January, print edition 09); "forest walk" (Asahi Shimbun, Nov 05); "wading through" (Simply Haiku, Autumn 09);"howling wind" (BHS James W. Hackett International Haiku Award 07); "trying to know me" (Simply Haiku, Autumn 09); "winter loneliness" (Bottle Rockets, Fall 06); "winter rain" (tempslibres 06); "mountain bridge" (First Prize, 5th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai Results 07); "desert sands" (Simply Haiku, Autumn 09); "Indian dance recital" (Haiku Harvest, Fall 06); "taking flight" (Mainichi Daily News, June 08); "between the birth" (World Haiku Review, Spring 09); "slicing wind" (Roadrunner Haiku Journal, August 07).

BIO:
According to _kala, "searching" is the one word that seems to say everything about her. She progressed along the path of Indian Classical Music, first instrumental then vocal, and from the South Indian Classical tradition crossed over into North Indian Classical music, performing in various cities throughout India. Then she plunged into yoga, Hindu philosophy and vipassana—which accidentally led her to haiku, in 2005, and since that time it has been haiku, senryŻ, tanka, haibun and renku that she breathes.