Cirku from the South Island

cirku - in the middle of autumn nowhere

This cirku was composed (Wainakarua, 17.4.06) close to where my great grandfather settled in New Zealand. I had never been there before. The NZ autumn is our northern hemisphere spring. You can begin the poem at any line and read around the circle. (in the middle of autumn nowhere / donkeys greet me / like a long-lost friend)

One response to “Cirku from the South Island

  1. The donkeys obviously recognised a fellow antipodean migrant!

    Was your greeting in reply a little hoarse with emotion?

    We can see the potential strength of the cirku in foregrounding the non-linear nature of poems like this, of which there are many among haiku, both thematically (“in the middle of autumn nowhere”) and formally, where the position of adverbial phrases is often interchangeable. The shape encourages the reader to choose among possible entry points, although in this particular example most readers are likely to enter the cirku at the top where the text is at its most readable angle (as indeed Tito himself has chosen to in his linear reading at the end of the post). Another factor influencing such a reading order here is that the spacing between lines is uneven, with the largest gap occurring, fortuitously(?), at the top.

    In general terms, the weakness of the cirku form, notwithstanding the nudging towards a certain reading I’ve mentioned in this case, is that the writer loses the ability to reveal information in specific sequence, and hence it is unsuitable in poems where this is important.