I notice the moon,
evening clouds, the sound of wind
but don’t pen haiku
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my haiku duties. My attempt to earn a few extra bucks this fall by taking on extra hours at work has backfired on me by sucking up any energy I might have had to dabble in the creative arts.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about haiku. I think about haiku all the time. I’m always on the lookout for haiku moments. And I find them. Often, in fact. If only I could find the time to write them all down. I know it shouldn’t be that hard. After all, a haiku is only three little lines. But inspiration has been in short supply these days.
Instead of writing haiku, I keep picking up and rereading a poem I came across a few months ago. It was written by Mary Oliver, and it strikes me as very haiku-like. The last two lines of the poem will probably be familiar as they are often quoted. But those last two lines aren’t where I see the haiku. I see the haiku in the attention paid to the grasshopper. Do you?
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?