Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Imitating a Good Poem – October 2015. Poems Standing Out

empty handed –
in grandma’s eyes
the moon

(Maria Doina Leonte)

Very well done is the opposition between hands and eyes: empty handed -/ in grandma’s eyes/ the moon. Grandma no longer has anything or can no longer offer anything with her tired hands, but love in her eyes compensates everything. Paradoxically, without handing anything out, her eyes have the most to offer.

empty stomach –
in every puddle a
full moon

(Florin Florian)

Well done for not trying to convince, but for allowing things to be as they are: empty stomach - / in every puddle a/ full moon. This time we do not know if the compensation is strong enough. Not even if the author’s irony is a bit cynical. The poem, however, is perfect.

the wind through my pockets -
on the park’s alleys
gold everywhere

(Dan Norea)

The wind through the pockets confirms a pecuniary lack that is perfectly in tune with the damaging gusts of wind in autumn. The lucky wanderer finds on the park’s alleys/ gold everywhere. Why should he not find this abundance enough for himself?

ending the Christmas carol –
in the apple tree from the orchard
moon and stars

(Luminita Ignea)

Ending the Christmas carol can be regarded as the equivalent of the empty larder, with the epty yard following the moments of euphoria.  The carol’s charm has disappeared, but there is a compensation to it: in the apple tree from the orchard, perhaps due to the magic effect of the carol, the stars and the moon have taken a seat. The moon from up there is right here, only one footstep away.

shaken cherry blossoms -
a smile grows
in their eyes

(Ana Drobot)

The cherry trees that have shaken up their blossoms symbolize the impoverishment of what has been, briefly, a delight for those who admired them. Part two – a smile grows / in their eyes - wants to record that the cherry trees in bloom were not left without a reaction in the hearts of the viewers. Their smile is a less eruptive one, however, a muffled but more complex gesture, including feelings of regret and some resignation and compassionate understanding.

(Comments: Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Romanian Monthly Kukai October 2015

Romanian Monthly Kukai October 2015

Special prize

completed herbarium -
caught in layers of ice
red rosehips

Ana Drobot

First place

the old woman's hand -
rosehips enlivening
her lifeline

Radu Tudosan

Second place

soldier's cross -
reddened rosehips
delete the date of death

Daniela Zglibuțiu

Third place

poor tomb -
a briar bush alone
in place of the cross

Valeria Tamaș

Fourth place

inscribed in the jar
autumn's calligraphy -
rosehip jam

Mariana Tănase

Fifth place

rosehip jam -
the taste of childhood
caught in a jar

Mirela Grigore

rosehips on branches -
other crowns of thorns
on the old crucifix

Vasilica Grigoraș

Sixth place

rosehip tea -
right before the holidays I feel
the fever of travelling

Dan Norea

ripe rose hips -
the lights in the bushes
on in autumn

Dorina Pop

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Cast Iron Cauldron

You cannot enjoy a haiku if you have not acquired the taste for it. The taste is a means to ensure that you can have a genuine and superlative relationship with a thing. And, when it comes to an aesthetic object, taste ensures that you can enjoy it, that you can talk about it in a knowledgeable way, that you can write about it successfully. I will try to convince you that the poem below is a true ars poetica, a representative model for writing haiku.

the cast iron cauldron -
moonlight sprinkles its rays
into the polenta

Costin Iliescu

In an elliptical way, without naming the thing evoked, only by alluding to it, this poem introduces us to a certain atmosphere. That of a dark night. Moonlight, the cast-iron cauldron and the polenta evoke the fact that somewhere out there polenta is cooking. The darkness is additionally and strongly shaped through the hint at the darkness of the cast-iron. Initially the name of the iron, the material from which the cauldron is manufactured, it has become synonymous with the cauldron, and has added the meaning of blackened by smoke, from where the adjective clad - covered.

The allusive correspondences do not stop here. Both moon and polenta are yellow, round and bright - there must be a magic, spiritual connection between them. If we surrender to daydreaming, contemplating the gradual taking shape of the polenta in the iron-clad cauldron, we have the impression that the moon’s rays are sprinkled into the pot and, as everything is being stirred, it becomes polenta.

Yet, even more interesting is the hint to the sprinkling of salt and to the whole phrases moonlight, sprinkles its rays into the polenta. I put a comma for you to grasp the meaning that the moonlight is only a pinch of salt you sprinkle above the cooking food. Once the right quantities are carefully chosen, we get the same effect as for the salt we sprinkle in food to spice things up – salt becomes indispensable for the mixture of ingredients to become tasty, not to remain dull.

Allegorically speaking, no matter how black, how dark, how dull things are, if you have a bit of salt (and moonlight can help anyone at that) to sprinkle into the polenta, the latter will not just be hearty but downright tasty. And, together with it, life itself.

In his latest book, The Unseen Side Decides Everything, Patapievici says: "All sense of our life can be thought of as making visible, through our way of seeing, an invisible part of the world and of each other." Haiku seems to do exactly this, as it enables us to access some spicier visions of the world that transfigure the insipid visible world.

It is obvious that the wording does not use sentences. True, the second part, considering that sprinkle would be a verb, with the meaning of hopping, throwing itself off, precipitating itself, it flirts with this variant of a sentence, but the meaning of its sprinkling (like salt does in the kitchen) has a primacy in shaping the superlative meaning of the whole poem. The idea of the poem is that, in the context of a summer’s night when, under the stars, polenta is cooking, moonlight is actually the salt (the spicy spirit) that gives the authentic taste to polenta. And now we realize that the first interpretation is conjugated with the second: moonlight really gets precipitated into the polenta to meet the magical valence of the scene.

By summing up the mix of words not forming sentences, the text cannot announce, describe, interpret, influence or show off some emotional mood. It names two things, it evokes their images. True, the moonlight may seem a metaphor for salt (or vice versa?), but here it is rather a figure of speech specific to haiku - the transfiguration, that which makes the moonlight be only an interface between two worlds, that of the visible and that of the (allegorical) vision.

(Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)