become the cloud! become the water, the breeze that moves them!
– – –
Since the Greek word for poetry, poiesis, means to make it seems fitting to include here some fine samples of the art of making-with-words. Gabriel Rosenstock’s haiku are exquisite makings, evoking imagery and emotion as effectively as any visual language.
The following notes are from Gabriel’s book Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing, and are used with his generous permission.
from what unknowable universe
beyond Hubble –
the cat’s green stare
Haiku … One-breath poetry, traditionally 17 syllables (5-7-5), now increasingly practised outside Japan as a free-style form, usually in three lines. It owes its impact and inspiration to a meditative flash in which the experiencer of the haiku moment merges suddenly with perceived phenomena.
Disappearing in the haiku moment … Think about moments of flow, ordinary or extraordinary events in your life in which you have experienced flow: it may have been entering another dimension while dancing, or when engaged in some aesthetic pursuit – music, pottery or painting; it may have been lovemaking, or the highlight of some athletic activity, or simply watching the dawn, or the stars, in some exotic location. You needn’t shine as athlete, hill-walker or lover, no need to book a trip to Kerala or Kerry. You can flow now with haiku, like water, like a cloud.
It is your static, self-conscious, unflowing self which makes you so stolidly visible, so permanently present to others and to yourself. Disappear for a while. True haikuists will show you the way because they have developed a magnetic capacity to attract the haiku moment. What is the haiku moment? Nothing more than an alchemic mingling and fusion of essences in which you disappear. Become the cloud! Become the water, the breeze that moves them!
Do not resist
The journey’s flow
And you will find yourself at One
With the mysterious unity of the Universe …
– Chuang Tzu
The haikuist can disappear first thing in the morning, last thing at night, each haiku moment being a cleansing of the heart, a stilling of the mind, a vanishing. Where is the sane man or woman who, deep down, desires an unclean heart, an unstilled mind?
Disappearing in light …
The haikuist’s focus is such
that the interconnectedness of all things
becomes radiantly apparent.
From self-infatuation to selflessness … One is grossly visible in the world – to the world and to oneself – when one suffers from self-infatuation, self-engrossment, self-importance. Haiku is a streaming into the light in which self-infatuation cannot exist. The pure and purifying action of the haiku moment causes us to dissolve into another dimension.
And who or what are we then? Creatures of light. Nothing more. Nothing less. And though we may return to the chiaroscuro of life, we are changed.
We have, briefly, known our brilliant nature.
The self has been sloughed and only Self remains.
The eccentric monk Ikkyu compressed incredible energy into astounding poems and beautiful haiku. This energy came from disappearing into the void. He too was drifting, on Lake Biwa, near Kyoto, when suddenly – Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw! – a crow shatters the silence and Ikkyu disappears in boundless satori.
The same crow might have had no effect whatsoever on him a few seconds earlier or a few seconds later. Disappearing happens unexpectedly, out of the blue. It’s a type of spontaneous combustion.
Everything that is out there is also within.
One might say there is a cosmos without
and a cosmos within.
In the haiku moment they are drawn together as one,
each and every time.
And, over time, the distinction becomes less and less.
What a great gift is this grace we call haiku.
Do accept it.
– Gabriel Rosenstock
Also see this small collection of Gabriel’s haiku – a glimpse of a god
Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing
– Gabriel Rosenstock
a glimpse of a god
in the eyes of the cat
following a moth