Monday, February 8, 2021

Thin ice

thin ice –

only the moon dares

to cross the lake


Ion Reșinariu


Of course, the detractors will immediately find it reprehensible that the moon is personified, if not because it does something that man does, at least because its action is characterized as bold. And we are talking about an action that is impossible to consider for an inanimate thing. The author's intent, for the reader who tastes haiku, is obviously to prove the fragility of the ice, and to do so using the reflection of the moon on the ice. The moon is there, we see it, even if it's moving slower or coming to a halt, and the ice isn't breaking. It is a staging that is part of the easy transfiguration of what we see. It's like walking on ice. After all, it is the allegory, without which haiku has no tension and vibration. What was indexed is actually what works to make the poem authentic.


(Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)

Thursday, November 5, 2020

How to read a haiku by an educated reader


fleeting love –

in front of her gate

idling away


(Mirela Brăilean)


 Some general remarks:

- the author is not mentioned in the text, discreetly, he is standing in the shadows

- the text does not talk about any emotion felt by the author or by the reader

- the feeling of being in love is rather depicted with the help of irony

Important in the poem are the approaches that are read between the lines and link the two parts. The fleeting love (temporary, transient) in the first part corresponds to the expression of idling away (without a determined goal, without purpose, at random). There is an abbreviation, an ellipse, in the second part. One that can be easily recovered. It is obvious that the lover is the one who passes by in front of the gate, idling away. He passes (he is a passer-by), but not only because of the idling away (literally - for her sake,) but also almost uselessly (figuratively). Love thus proves to be fleeting, outdated, and fragile.


Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Back to School

back to school -
only the old man in the swing
counting syllables



Corneliu Traian Atanasiu



Counting Syllables


When you deviate a little from the path you usually walk on, you can notice new things. Or rather, you are no longer on autopilot mode and you pay more attention to the new route. So today, after passing by some newly arranged playgrounds, preferred by parents and children and quite lively, taking another alley, a rather dusty one, there appeared in front of me, sitting on a bench, only a man abstracted from his thoughts. Children, absolutely none.
I didn't look at the man anymore because the idea came to me. The lone man in a children's playground symbolized its deserting very well. The fact that the school has started and the students have other concerns. Higher-level ones. I could also look for any concern for the man, in contrast with the playing for which the space was arranged. Maybe a beggar eating his frugal breakfast gathered from the trash. Maybe someone who was already taking a nap reading the news from a months-old newspaper, but recently received in the mail by the wind that had brought it to his bench right now. He didn't have a door. No house either.
So I took on a first verse that says, elliptically, only that school has started (and the children don't have that much time to play anymore):

back to school -

thus suggesting that the playground is no longer frequented. Now I had to find an interesting concern for the only beneficiary of the playground. I thought that a beggar, a homeless man on the street, was not very busy with his studies and might not be a perfect reader, maybe he doesn't really read much, he and he can barely spell. It would have been something that brought him strangely closer to the students already in the classrooms. The newspaper was giving him work to do. And, not being an obligation, it seemed like a pleasant exercise. However, in this way, the playground also became an outdoor training space. Didn't the peripateticists do the same in the past, walking through the garden of Akademos?

on a bench a beggar
doing his spelling

The poem was already growing complex. Education is done at any age, with children in their school years, with those who abandoned it by recycling in parks. Looking closer, I saw that the bench was still too small to suggest a playground. A swing would have been better. And, after all, if it was still about pedagogy without borders, I said that it is better not to abuse such frequent mentioning of beggars usually met in haiku poems. Perhaps an old man would have been more desirable and more in antithesis to the child. I also relied on one that would mark the exclusivity (only he was there) and the inadequate presence of the old man in a place for those of other ages. And, because the old man should be wise and, obviously, knowledgeable, I thought of replacing the syllabification with the well-known habit of the one who is still trying to start writing a haiku:

only the old man in the swing
counting syllables

Now the approaches were more numerous and included not only the allusion to perpetual training but also to the acquisition of a certain learning habit.

back to school  -
only the old man in the swing
counting syllables

And the swing updated not only its allusion to the playground but also the more subtle sense of origin, the miraculous place of another beginning whenever possible. By the way, any haiku author will taste it. Well-versed or just a novice. Especially since the counting of syllables is one of the most compromising habits for authors who should care more about the essence of the poem than its form. And the first verse, as the poem progressed, also slipped slightly from leaving the playground to perpetual school.


(Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)


Saturday, August 1, 2020

In Love

frosted glass -
carelessly two butterflies
taste the heat

If you want to see a scene, you have to make up for the omissions. The frosted glass, in contrast to the heat, suggests a shady place, where, at a small table, someone has retreated looking at the meadow over which butterflies flutter. In the drowsiness of noon, all the breath tends to take shelter from the relentless heat of the sun. Only butterflies run carelessly in a zig-zag pattern.
The playfulness and the squeak of the two butterflies are but only the signs of a zeal for which the heat does not matter anymore. The drink is inside and they have already caught its taste. And the refinements. If they were good at poetry, they would no doubt say that they were carried by a wind through drunkenness.

Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu

Friday, July 17, 2020

Printing and digitization

database -
grandmother's calendar

Dincă Valerian

In the first instance, the text sends us to certain things that it evokes together with their real contexts. The first part is in fact a metonymy for the vast field of digitalization of today's world. A field that intertwines the real with the virtual. The second evokes something much more concrete and individualized - a wall calendar. Leaving some ambiguity on its format, it could be a sheet with all the religious holidays marked throughout a year or as a 365-page book, one for each day of the year. It is important to specify: nailed, ie hanging on the wall.
However, the mention of setting the calendar takes us back. The figurative meaning of the expression nailed draws our attention to the unchanging, the lack of evolution, a sufficient inflexibility, a dead end. From now on we are directed towards the field of information and towards two different epochs that the evoked ones symbolize.
Grandma's calendar becomes a symbol of the press, and it is also a revolutionary moment in the democratization of information. But now, compared to digitization, obviously old-fashioned, it opened, in his time, the access of many to information, to the written document, determining their schooling and literacy. The database is a name that involves software, a lot of applications, which hoards the information, organizes and processes it, keeping it at the disposal of some beneficiaries to whom it facilitates as much as possible the access to it. In addition to the huge size of a database, it can benefit from a permanent enrichment and renewal of the organization. It is not nailed but extremely flexible, capable of evolution.
I remember my grandmother. We, the grandchildren, taught her to read and sign (when she retired and was receiving her pension). All her freshly literate life she uttered what was written in a thin book of prayers.

Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Romanian Weekly Kukai no. 651

First Place – Mihai Talașman

grandma’s house -
mended by a spider
broken window

Second Place – Cecilia Birca

closed school -
the spider draws his web
over the world map

Third Place – Ion Cuzuioc

abandoned orchard -
hanging on to weeds

Third Place – Mihai Pascaru

early morning –
in the flower girl’s basket
a peony yawns

Mention – Mihai Pascaru

morning prayer -
on a spider's thread
dew drops

Mention 2 – Cristina Apetrei

rainbow in the window -
completely dry in the schoolbag

Mention 2 – Cornel C. Costea

walking together –
a beetle takes a sit
on the hat

Mention 3 – Ion Cuzuioc

ripe cherries –
elegantly dressed
the scarecrow

Mention 3 – Cristina Apetrei

after the rain -
the old acacia's shadow
not fitting in the puddle

Monday, April 13, 2020

Daily Haiku for 13 April

arrivals and departures -
swallows’ nests
in the old train station

Argentina Stanciu

We deal with an empathic-ironic way of taking over the duties of a station decommissioned by the bieds. A perpetual movement of going to and fro revitalizes the building. The swallows have found a more stable shelter there. For the human beings, the train station is abandoned and ruined, but for the birds it has a secure future. A muffled, slightly acid lyrical compensation. (Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)