homegrown haiku 4

Talking together

              Here and now makes a difference

                             Over many years

This haiku grows straight from a conversation with my wife shortly before the anniversary dinner.  Since the dinner celebrates a marriage, the impulse for this haiku fits.  Although some couples talk more than we do and some less, I value our ability to communicate openly and often.  Therefore, the first line represents the object of my appreciation.

In another run-on, an effect which I am starting to enjoy in haiku, the second line extends the general process to the present moment, making the abstract concrete.  Sometimes talking with your partner is difficult, awkward or even scary, but, in my experience, always valuable.  The reference to “here and now” grounds the lofty idea of communication.  Talk here and now, rather than wait for a “better” time–this is the spirit of line two’s opening.  Then, as it happens (I love the surprises that surface from composing, and from reflecting), the second half of line two not only completes the specific thought that conversation in the present matters, but it also produces an independent line two that says, “what you do now matters.”  This independent line creates a nice symmetry because it returns the poem to a general level.

Line three, then, moves back to the specific occasion of a sixtieth anniversary–with the phrase “for many years.”  While reminding us of this particular celebration, the last line also describes the accumulated value of openly communicating in the present.  The present is also the future.

Unlike the other haiku so far, this one has no central image–from nature or anywhere else.  In this sense, the poem stays more abstract than the others.  This feature may explain why I spend time noticing the layers of generality.  The experience of talking does not inherently produce a memorable concrete image; it is almost like live theatre, insofar as you have the conversation, then you have your memories of it and your associations with it.  The event itself has passed; only the impact and meaning remain.    In a way, this haiku #4 holds my memory of that conversation between me and my wife, Ann.  In particular, it captures my appreciation that we can have such talks, over many years.



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