Posted in Haiku

Kat Creighton’s Beachcomber

morning fog
no hint of the beachcomber
but for his whistle

(A Hundred Gourds, December, 2011)

© Kat Creighton (1955 – 2014)

This captures a moment of isness where the senses only show a single sound, at least in the reader’s mind. The wind is probably not strong or heard, since there is fog. So, in hearing only the beachcomber’s whistle, and concentrating on it, the beauty of that whistle is exposed, and in turn, it is a universe in itself. Each thing in its pure perceived form is a wonder and one can gain a sense of enlightenment from being engrossed in a single sound, diving into the moment and being absolutely present.

The mood of the haiku seethes with positivity. Despite the fog, the beachcomber whistles. This brings about an atmosphere of everything being okay, even though obstacles cloud our lives. It is shows an acceptance for what is, and not a grumbling over particulars.

I enjoy the sound of the haiku as well. The “o” sound floats through the haiku like a fog, and the “i” in “hint” and “whistle” brings greater emphasis to the experience of the haiku.

The pacing of the lines brings peace to the reader’s mind, especially with the cadence of the last line. All around, it is a serene and positive haiku that brings us into an attentive state.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

About Kat Creighton

In January 2014, the haiku community was shocked and saddened to hear that fellow writer Kat Creighton had passed away.

Kat Creighton was born into a large Irish Catholic family in 1955. Throughout high school, she was writing for the school newspaper. Later, she earned a BA in English from Kean University, specializing in Creative Writing, where she had her first poem published in their literary journal “Grubstreet Writer.”

Although she loved writing, nothing seemed quite right until in her adulthood, she rediscovered haiku while reading a novel relating to Japanese culture. She studied short forms of poetry ever since then. In the 1990s, through the internet, she came along the World Haiku Club and authors like Basho, Issa, and Masajo Suzuki. She admired Masajo Suzuki’s sensitive haiku and relied on them as sources of education and constant inspiration. To Kat, the connection between nature and human nature was spiritual as well as physical. And being a photographer as well as a poet, Kat combined words and images to create haiga. As her home was on the New Jersey coast, she often focused her work on the maritime landscape that she knew and loved. She featured it in online journals and in her blog called “My Ninth Life.”

Kat Creighton’s haiku was published in several electronic journals, including World Haiku Review, Short Stuff, Moments, Visual Haiku, Pegasus Dreaming, and temps libres. Creighton’s haiku and haiga have appeared in A Hundred Gourds, Haiga Online, Sketchbook, and Simply Haiku.

Kat’s advice for haiku writers: “What speaks to you personally – that will make for your best writing.”

[From The Living Haiku Anthology, with edits: http://livinghaikuanthology.com/index-of-poets/livinglegacies/2556-kat-creighton.html%5D

Posted in Haiku

Eufemia Griffo’s Snow

alzheimer’s
white white white
snow falls

(Otata 16, April 2017)

© Eufemia Griffo (Italy)

The poet noted that this haiku was written in memory of her mother. My first reaction was the feeling that nature connects intricately with human existence— and in this haiku, with the poet’s mother’s passing. A supernatural sense of nature should not be given up, as it is a part of our childhood wisdom. As we become adults, it is easy to forget the magic of nature and how we are connected to it on a spiritual level.

The snow’s whiteness, like the blankness of Alzheimer’s, connects mother and nature. Happenings in nature might seem like fate, or might seem coincidental. In reality, nature is presenting connections between us and itself each moment—we only need to witness nature with a clear mind to be able to see it. 

The repetition of white reaffirms this connection and also the sadness of loss. It could also be reflective of the pain Alzheimer’s causes to individuals and their families. But in this melancholy mood, there is a touch of hope. The purity of snow as it falls shows the poet that her mother is now at peace, and has now began anew—either in the afterlife, or as part of the natural world. 

The act of the snow falling is like a eulogy from the sky. It is as if the natural world recognizes her passing, and pays tribute to her. And in viewing that whiteness, the poet may feel the sting of loss, but also feel the beauty of who her mother was.

If we look at this haiku from the standpoint of sound, we can see that the “l” sounds in the first line and the last line gives emphasis to the tragedy, and so does the repetition of the “w” sounds.

There is no need for punctuation in this haiku with such strong words being used, and the conciseness of the poem also gives it more power.

A touching haiku, it also illustrates the cause and effect relationship between humanity and nature.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Posted in Haiku

Nicholas Klacsanzky’s Whale Vertebrae

My haiku “whale vertebrae” won a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems in 2016, from the Haiku Foundation.

whale vertebrae
drifting from one god
to another

(first printed in A Hundred Gourds 5.3)

Here is commentary on this haiku from the panelists from the Haiku Foundation:

“This haiku brings the sense of a timelessness of all things in our own great human journey between birth and death. A lot to imply in eight carefully crafted words but what an impact they have. They evoke something greater in our understanding and the search for the true self. Every time I read this haiku I find more places to travel and discover the subtleties that tantalize me as a reader. Nothing is explained, only suggested, and the reader can find what it means to them by going deeper.”

“The magnificence of the life force expressed in a whale, and the universal and critical message that from one god to another, no matter who we worship or where we’re from, there is only one Truth. And just as the dead whale has drifted across the sea, so too might we at times feel lost, drifting from one religious or spiritual path to another, hoping to find healing. With racism and refugees much on our minds today, this poem offers the hope of healing. And in the echo of the repetitive r’s and o’s, the power of this spare haiku reverberates with sound.”

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For more information, and to look at other winners, please visit: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/2017/04/30/commentaries-for-the-2016-touchstone-awards/