For my parents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary, I wrote several haiku to honor the event. Since several of them need explanation, which I gave during the anniversary dinner, I offer that background here–for people who could not attend the dinner, for myself as writer, and for anyone else looking in. While these posts repeat some of my impromptu comments, they also include thoughts surfacing since the dinner.
In the order of original composition (15 June 2013), here’s the first one:
Two together still
Moving furniture pieces
To where they belong
Many who know me also know that my parents recently moved after having lived in the same house for fifty years, the house in which I grew up from age nine through high school. Changing homes after that much time is hard, in several ways. For example, it tests the relationship between those who are making the change. This test is reflected in the first line. The word “still” carries the idea of sixty years, which includes the recent struggle of picking up, packing up and re-locating. The same word also means calm, as in “Before the sun rose that morning, the lake was as still as glass.” Placing the word “still” at the end of the haiku’s line reveals this second meaning more effectively than would, for example, “Two still together.”
Although part of a haiku’s challenge is to create a total poem while allowing each line to read independently, as a kind of mini-poem, I enjoy the run-on (spill-over) effect of “still / moving furniture,” which is what my parents were doing on the day of the anniversary dinner. So, the stillness suggested in the first line contrasts in several ways with the lifting, carrying, placing, transporting and other move-related activities.
The third line, then, echoes the initial suggestion of stillness by claiming that things are as they should be, are where they belong, need no more moving. The move that looked daunting several years ago has put in place not only furniture pieces, but also the realization that change is often both hard and rewarding. Such realizations come more readily, when we can share the struggles and rewards with someone we love.