Winter Hudson

Long things beach here:
concrete pylons, railroad ties,
styrofoam swim noodles.

What is a “styrofoam swim noodle”? Here’s a picture:


6 Responses to “Winter Hudson”

  1. How obscure can you get? This is all about ‘getting it’. My guess: rough sea and human junk = big, long jetsam up against a wharf?! This is surely far from the old pond the frog jumped in!

    • No more obscure than Ribobitan D… but, yes, that’s exactly the image I was going for. I was walking along the river and noticed a pier where all the beached trash was the same shape. There was a “wabi” beauty to the depressing image: a few branches and tree-trunks, but mostly man-made objects. I started thinking about the way trash behaves when it’s subjected to natural processes, like waves or weather– it starts to look weirdly “natural.” And I also thought of your line, “eulalia/and Ribobitan D.” However, if one has to explain a haiku, one has failed. Point taken– back to work for me!

  2. You’re quite right about Ribobitan D. Needing to explain a haiku is tantamount to failing … but not quite, I feel. Headnotes or footnotes, especially when lightly done, can make the haiku shine. Blogs are great, though, aren’t they, for flying things and watching them be shot down (or come down quietly out of sight). Plaudits are impossible some of the time. While I dislike ‘riddle’ haiku, perhaps what is missing is more of your beach, quite literally to ‘ground’ the haiku. Your title certainly helped.

  3. John Dougill Says:

    Actually once I got ‘beach’ was a verb and not a noun, I didn’t have any trouble understanding the verse. Funnily enough it was railway ties not the swimming noodles I had trouble with (in Br. English ‘railway sleepers’). I like the Audenesque modern imagery, and the odd similarity of shape, though I wonder about foregoing a seasonal reference…

  4. Thank you, Tito and John! I agree, Tito: you can’t win ’em all, and for that very reason it’s great to have a chance (such as on this blog) to see one’s work as others see it. Point taken, too, about “lightly done:” a big gnarly weblink is a less elegant use of technology then, perhaps, a photograph. John: you’re right, I was forcing that seasonal reference: the river wreaks the same bleak order all year ’round. Thank you for teaching me “railway sleepers,” which I think I’ve seen in (Auden’s?) poetry in the past and found baffling! Best, E.

  5. yes, clear depressing images Ellis. however, i’m not sure the poem expresses the beauty of these images as noted in your 1/30/2010 comment. i think the essence of your poem may have been expressed much more poetically within that comment ? :

    “the way trash behaves”
    when the sea has held it

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