Shahai by Grant Savage

I know I said I’d post only once a week or so but I’ve had contributions to the blog that I’d like to get out to everyone.

From Bryan Cook:

in the hot tub
a full moon

a woodpecker
drums out grubs
in my head

in steerage
dreams of fortunes to be won
to sink with the unsinkable
shoes rest below an iceberg sea

From Gill Foss:

in late sunlight
lengthening shadows creep
towards old age

three purring cats
barely enough room
on one lap

autumn wedding
Canadian / Japanese
blessed with sweetgrass

From Grant Savage

holocaust day
despite repeat applications
of illegal chemicals
those damned immigrant
lawn grubs

Another package today from Scrivener Press who printed Haiku Canada’s 35th Members’ Anthology, Touch of a Moth, which all Haiku Canada Members will get. I opened it to find bookmarks to go with the books, (that are sitting here behind a living room chair in cartons until our Haiku Canada Weekend in May) the bookmarks complete in themselves as little artworks.

This news from Rick Black’s Turtle Light press blog: Haiku Hits the Streets in Washington, D.C.

Crowd of 100,000 people at the Japanese Street Festival in Washington D.C.
At 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 14th, I met Lee Giesecke of the Towpath haiku group – the local D.C. chapter of the Haiku Society of America – at a metro stop with my car packed full of tables, extra chairs, tablecloths, straw baskets, easels, sumi-e paintings, some regal sunflowers, magenta tulips, a large variety of haiku books to browse through and others to give away, haiku pamphlets, brochures and flyers, and a very large, welcoming balloon…
Later, Rick says: So, I put out (her) books and others on the front table. And then I added a sheet with a half-humorous “Haiku I.Q. Quiz” that I had made up for people to take:
1. A haiku is a car, a poem or a Japanese vegetable?
2. Who wrote a famous haiku poem about a frog…?
3. Haiku must have 17 syllables in three lines of 5-7-5 – true or false?
4. Issa was a great Japanese baseball player – true or false?
And then the flow of visitors began. It started as a trickle, then increased in intensity as the day went on. People would just look at the booth, astonished, and say, “I didn’t know there was a Haiku Society of America.” That was the most oft-repeated phrase that I heard throughout the day!
Another brilliant idea, having people write poems with chalk:
During the day the streets were completely packed with people from one side to the other, watching Japanese drummers or performers faking a sword fight, drinking Japanese beer or buying souvenirs. Overall, we must have had at least 1,000 people or more at our booth. Many people went away with a book, a brochure, a flyer, a bookmark, or a pencil – and the happy memory of writing haiku.
For more photos, see Rick’s personal Facebook page.

A sequence from Grant:

there in the middle
of the double
exposed lily
the newness of missing you
in the hummingbird’s green

green bee
at a dahlia
spring over
but how your august
showers me with sun

bee and kalanchoe
window between
in the body
of your email
missing you

shade in the letters
of the war memorial
a dead ant cradled
and carried high by others
back to the queen

you as if there’s nothing
but a kiss in my arms
and the willows’ shimmy
against the wind

all this spring
the thoughts of warm rain
… your kiss-
… flowers and your unfurling
… me always

He also sent this, a little different but delightful:

(birthday cake/ with her name/ candles and a half-baked p

John Martone, a favorite poet of mine, has another book of short poems:
Says John: Just uploaded a short book, “maybe a week (it’s all one poem)” to scribd — and you can find print copies at lulu —  I’ve just ordered mine!


Mid April

I wonder about your thoughts on having a KaDo blog. Let me know. Today’s post features another shahai by Grant D. Savage, and a tanka sequence he read at Tree on April 10th, and for which he was complemented by a/several poet(s) of stature.

Tanka – Red-wings – Blackbirds

opposing reds
on opposing reeds
straight from their shoulders
straight from their flaming hearts
the blackbirds’ spring dawns

spreading sunrise
on its fiery shoulders
a red-wing’s song
in full flight
on a swaying reed

south wind and reeds
alight with song
dark with half-flown red-wings
the weightlessness
of your florida tan

almost evening
matched with the spread
of bird-wings that fold
their dark to voice

the red-wings once more
forage the fields in flocks
not even their warmest
or deepest songs
a match for the spring snow

a red-wing
lands on a cattail’s
and where has it gone that first
and lightest touch of desire

from reed to reed
a blackbird follows
its song
the way it leads
straight to you

sun the colour
of the males’ shoulders
the blackbirds weave
reed baskets of togetherness
and mutual dreams

blackbird song
dimness of first light
i settle back in the nest
of our love – wet … hair
to tangle it further

i rise on the spread
of red-wing song
on the breeze-like sibilance
of your dreaming “G-r-a-a-a-n-t”

The Heron’s Nest 2012 Anthology of the best haiku it has published in its magazine each year. This proves that Grant Savage certainly knows his business where haiku is concerned, with four poems selected in one year. Here are two of them:

lake of stars
the taste
of Polaris

hint of frost
the spruce tipped
with jupiter

And to show that haiku poets can be a fun-loving competitive people like anybody else with our own contests and excitements, Heron’s poem of the year: Chad Lee Robinson, (Pierre, South Dakota)

migrating geese –
the things we thought we needed
darken the garage

Many have already let me know whether they are coming to the Japanese Embassy on May 12, and how many friends they will be bringing to share the fun. Our guest’s topic is wagashi. She is an expert at preparing and forming these seasonal sweets, and will have some samples for us! For anyone I know is coming, that is…

tulips and the Embassy

Tulips to remind everyone: Let me know by email, ( whether you’re coming to the May 12 event/meeting at The Japanese Embassy, and how many guests you will bring. Please let me know as soon as possible as our surprise guest has to know what to prepare. Make sure to send me your numbers by email (not on the blog) by April 28th. Put “Embassy” in your heading….

At the Haiku Canada Weekend we will launch the 35th Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology, THE TOUCH OF A MOTH. (2012, Scrivener Press). From that anthology, Ellen Cooper’s:

red tulip –
a ladybug escapes
the blazing heat

No blazing heat yet though here in Ottawa. Grey skies and rain to get those tulips growing. But that’s not stopping our Mike Montreuil from finishing up details and getting the collection of Drevniok Award winners to press.

There’s also a new book of Nick Virgilio poems out by Turtle Light Press. More than a hundred pages of genius for $14.95, from the states, but no postage! That’s almost unheard of! Virgilio is one of the American master haiku poets whose poems you want to have by your favourite reading chair.

Spring Meeting at the Japanese Embassy

A welcome to new member Louise Vaillancourt and two shahai from her, one in English and one in French. (shahai = photo haiga)

Keep May 12th open for our Spring Embassy meeting! It is at 1:00 – 3:00 in our traditional venu, the Japanese Embassy. It was brilliant of Terry Ann to make this connection with Mr. Toshi Yonehara so  many spring seasons ago.  This year we have a very special guest who will explain about the tradition of making special seasonal sweets.  In a couple of weeks I will ask exactly how many people are coming so our guest will know how many to prepare for.  remember that you may bring guests, whether they write haiku or not.

A note that Pearl Pirie’s blog Pesbo shares a link called A Quick Primer to haiku. Worth looking up.

Hi to Haiku – pesbo
pagehalffull.comUntil next week then, Claudia