Early this morning, the following haiku came to me from a moment of real experience. In a curious way, it struck me as meaningful, although I didn’t intend it to be. Has anyone else had this sort of experience, I wonder – where innocent haiku occasionally seem to be symbolic? You could just as well say, of course, “It’s rubbish!”

on the roof terrace

……tying a rotten rope

………by autumn moonlight

……………………….(Saga, Kyoto, 5.9.09)

9 responses to “Moonlight

  1. I don’t think its rubbish at all; in my case, its often damn lucky.
    As for seeing an inference, it may not always be immediately evident.
    If I’m strained from the weight of producing, reading or comparing a poem-well, there’s the rub.
    Congratulations on your moment of clarity.
    Wishing us all many more,


  2. 秋の夜の月を眺めると、しばしば私は故人を思い浮かべる。有明の月は亡き人々を夜に比べ偲ぶことはないが、なにかと連想し、月の国を考える。夜明けに残る月もまた心ひかれるものである。夜のように長い間眺めたりしないが、ああ、と瞬間こころよぎるものがあるのである。早起きしてまだ月が・・・というときに。

  3. not rubbish to me. this poem stirs something within me;

    the idea of being in this personal place up high (roof terrace= almost altarish?). experiencing a bit of the concentration or physical action involved to salvage an old rope for some task the poet deems important under the spirit of the autumn moon. oh my god, my imagination has led me to a human sacrifice!

  4. ps. since this poem invites workshopping…

    some may quibble that it reads as a sentence, which is okay, i’m still moved by the poetry.

    not sure if a break after the second line, and eliminating “by” in the final line would help deepen the moment?

  5. Thanks for the comments so far. Eliminating ‘by’ (in G’s second comment) would remove the purpose of using the moonlight to tie by. For the time being, I still favour the piece as a non-break haiku (for me, quite rare), although in principle to break is a good idea. I thought someone might say they were worried I might be thinking of hanging myself. Is that what G. means by human sacrifice?! Anyway, thank God, it is a rotten rope after all.

  6. For my part, I love the poem. It tells of a thing that happened, & that in the happening felt worthy of record. What more human than that? Nothing. Let it be.

    I only have one question: how does a roof terrace differ from a terrace?

  7. Well of course. Now I see. My horizons were so limited by the sheet-rock, split-level, 2 x 4, shingled, suburban American housing I grew up in and amongst that I thought of roofs and terraces as always distinct. (We had poured concrete “patios,” never “terraces.”) Your haiku instruct me in more ways than one, Tito.

  8. The rope makes me think of lashing something down against the wind and rain, so for me the poem isn’t rubbish at all, but “about” the contrast between resisting nature and giving in to it– resisting its power to harm and giving in to its beauty. Lovely!