I’ve been thinking about haiku the past couple of days and how this form and related forms can carry so much meaning. Two or three lines, a few words, a clear and untrammeled image, simply speak out. Speak out about a time of year or a time of life, the simplicity of the natural world and the complexity of the human heart, the interconnections that make the all one.
To focus the broad lens of attention on the small, and often seeming trivial, bits and parts of life as we live it and not as we imagine or contemplate it, is for me the most important purpose of poetry. Oh yes, I acknowledge the importance of the narrative, the telling and preserving of personal and communal experience where the meaning is obvious. I admire the lyrical poetry that uses the beauty of language to enhance and sing a common experience and thereby intensify the joy of living – the odes, the sonnets, and numerous forms named and unnamed.
But for me it will always be the small poems that remain the most powerful: not only the Japanese forms but also all those that present one image uncluttered and wielding a quiet strength. The best of English language imagist poetry carry as much emotion and strength as the finest work of the haiku masters.
For me, poetry can be the way I focus the light of daily living on small things, a light that should be a way to explore their meaning and their special inherent beauty.