Goosey, goosey …

The latest edition of The Heron’s Nest has been published and includes this haiku of mine:

low-flying geese sunlight on every leading edge

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 19.1

This was a real scene that I laboured to get right, partly in acknowledgement of all the great goose haiku that have gone before. Here is just a small sampling of the many that I like (by the way, New Zealand doesn’t have migratory geese which rather puts us behind in haiku terms). I’ve posted the first two before, back in 2014, but still love them.

stopt to allow geese crossing some idiot honks

– Janice Bostok (1942-2011)

Alan Summers has pointed out (see Comments) that my original posting using ‘stopped’ in Jan’s haiku was incorrect. In White Heron, her 2011 biography by Sharon Dean, Jan says:

“Everyone tries to correct me … I actually used the old-fashioned past participle stopt instead of stopped because to me it sounds more sudden, and I didn’t want to break the flow of the haiku for too long with an exclamation mark. Somehow that stopt allows the haiku to read shorter and quicker… In using stopt I wanted to convey to the reader that I was very definitely stopped – firmly stopped. I even had the car engine turned off.”

the sound of geese through the crosshairs

– Melissa Allen, Modern Haiku 44.1

river fog …
the sound of geese
coming in from the sea

– John Barlow, Wingbeats: British Birds in Haiku (Snapshot Press, 2008)

the first flakes of snow
drifting down the wetlands
Canada geese

– Billie Wilson, The Heron’s Nest 4.11

‘Wild Geese Returning to Katata’, one of Hiroshige’s Eight Views of Omi. Image: Wikipedia

somewhere
between bitter and sweet
migrating geese

– Michele L. Harvey, The Heron’s Nest 18.4

行雁がつくづく見るや煤畳
yuku kari ga tsuku-zuku miru ya susu tatami

the travelling geese
check it out thoroughly…
sooty mat

– Issa, written in 1807
from The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

Translator David Lanoue offers this comment: The mat is a tatami mat made of woven straw. The fact that it is sooty implies that it belongs to “beggar” Issa.

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Publications

Spring has brought a number of publications to my letterbox and inbox …

A Hundred Gourds features a loving tribute to Martin Lucas by Matthew Paul, and two of my haiku.

summer solstice –
the flock passes into darkness
one by one

– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds 3:4

The Heron’s Nest also features two of my haiku, which means I’m in reasonably select company as few have been accorded that honour this time. I’m humbled, as always, to have anything accepted anywhere so to get two each into these fine journals is exciting.

pioneer cemetery –
here and there a name
faces heavenward

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest XVI.3

Two of my haiku are to appear in the New Zealand Poetry Society anthology (editor Nola Borrell, launched in November), and Kokako 21 includes four of my haiku.

another lotto loss –
the sparkle of my mother’s
costume jewellery

– Sandra Simpson, Kokako 21

The latest paper wasp arrived by post from Australia today, the penultimate issue of the 20th anniversary series, this one dedicated to senryu and edited by Jacqui Murray, Vuong Pham and Katherine Samuelowicz. Individual issues are $A6 each. (I would link to the website but it appears out of date.)

The editors have shoe-horned the senryu into the 20 pages, no doubt about that. To be fair I should point out that production values are one of my (many) hobby-horses. I’m not sure how successful all the senryu are or why one by Vuong Pham is in twice (not the only proof-reading error). The journal is published four times a year … but is only 16 or 20 pages so I find the proof-reading and layout issues surprising.

I have on my shelf a copy of paper wasp from spring 1996, edited by Janice Bostok and Jacqui Murray which is 16 pages with, generally, five or six poems per page, compared to, generally, 13 or 15 per page for spring 2014.

Okay, that all sounds a bit negative and I’m sorry for that. Every person who edits a haiku journal should receive an award – Knight Companion of the Order of Basho, or somesuch. But, on the other hand, readers of haiku, tanka and haibun journals should be able to expect a minimum standard, evidence of some care.