‘A haiku is a hand becoming’ – Reginald H Blyth


A haiku is the expression of a temporary enlightenment,
in which we see into the life of things.

A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand becoming,
a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean.  It is a way of returning
to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our
falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature.  It is a way in
which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very
day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly
alive, share in our humanity, speak their very own silent
and expressive language.
–  Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

I came across the above extract by accident and thought it beautifully written. I’m not sure if it was meant as a poem but it reads like one. Read it aloud and and gambol amongst its words.

In 1949, with the publication in Japan of the first volume of Haiku, written by Blyth, haiku was introduced to the western world. Go here to Terebess Asia online to read about this remarkable man. This website  is also a resource for some great discussion on haikus.

The photo below shows Blyth’s last resting place in Japan.

And now I hope you will visit the Tuesday Poem Blog and discover more interesting poetry facts and poems.

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes–how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

 

Did you know or remember the words of this poem? I certainly didn’t though the title and rhythm are as familiar as the smell of a Christmas pine.

The poem was written by Dr. Clement C. Moore. He was born in a house near Chelsea Square, New York City, in 1781; and he lived there all his life. It was a great big house, with fireplaces in it;–just the house to be living in on Christmas Eve.

To read a lovely story about the poem’s origins and how it is still celebrated, go here and scroll down.

A very interesting biography of Moore can be found here

This more controversial view of Moore and how the poem originated, makes interesting reading.

And if you have children in the house they might enjoy this short cartoon video

If you want to read my own version of Christmas, Grandma’s Kiwi Christmas is available in a number of online sites and local bookstores.  Click on the book cover for this title in my left hand column to view inside the book.

And meanwhile I wish you all a peaceful and contented Christmas season and a bountiful 1917.

 

To read more poems for Tuesday go here.