New Year’s Haiku

This was my first blog post ever. In honor of a year of blogging, I’m re-posting it. Enjoy!

New Year brings to mind my friend the haiku poet, Elizabeth Searle Lamb. She loved the holiday, and often treated it in her haiku:

again, New Year’s Eve–
wondering how far I’ll get
with this new journal

After she died, I helped clear out her study. She had haiku drafts on slips of paper all over the place! Although they were informal and undated, they gave a sense of her process. Like the classic Japanese poets, she sometimes wrote versions of haiku, putting lines next to each other to see how they worked. For example, there is the new year’s haiku:

at midnight
eating the first grape
…not alone

This is from 1974, but wasn’t collected into her book ACROSS THE WINDHARP. I found a variant:

at midnight
eating the first grape
alone

Of course these haiku are opposite. I suspect “alone” comes first as “not alone” is a somewhat unusual construction. Then there is the following pair:

dreaming the dream
that is not a dream moonlight
in the dreamcatcher

dreaming the dream
that is not a dream–
moonstones

These seem to be equally evocative, but of somewhat different states.
And one more of her haiku to wish you a happy start to 2011:

bells and firecrackers!
a drop of champagne has stained
the New Calendar

4 thoughts on “New Year’s Haiku

  1. perfect to hear these! thanks, Mir.
    I totally relate to the ‘version’ practice …
    Here’s one from last night, from me —

    night before Jan first
    the cold air tickles my lungs
    seven sisters straight up

  2. Thank you, Miriam, for blessing our New Year with graces from other years…old friends, old hopes, old dreams, all waiting to be new again…and we are given this blessing of life to begin again…on a wonderous foundation.

  3. It’s always great to see drafts before they are published.

    Elizabeth Searle Lamb also published my first Frogpond submissions! 😉

    Wonderful poet, greatly missed.

    Alan, With Words

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