The cruellest month

February!
Along the river city cranes
Wage war on nature

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8 Responses to “The cruellest month”

  1. Ughhh! An understanding of local govt. budget planning and Japanese rivers is necessary for a meaningful reading of this absolute monsterpiece. These cranes do not whoop: they chug and jangle.

  2. Interesting. Humorous, and yet fairly critical about the cruelty (i.e. silliness) of human activities. A kind of an environmental message haiku-wise.

  3. John Dougill Says:

    Thank you Toshi for your generous comment. We live you might say in an ‘Ughhh age’ to which one response might be termed ‘ugly haiku’. I don’t know if there is such a genre? Those who seek to escape the realities of the present in haiku prettification are guilty in my mind of moral dereliction. In this respect I’m very sad to learn that Hailstones is going on an outing to Kyoto Zoo, which has an awful reputation for cruel and cramped conditions. I won’t be attending myself, but I certainly hope the result is not simply haiku about how cute the animals are!

  4. I loved having to re-read “cranes.” Nice work playing with my expectations: it’s a haiku, so I assume the crane will be a bird. Wrong! My only cavil, because I shy away from abstraction in haiku, would be that “nature” is a little vague. Would repeating “the river” be too weird?

  5. Or simply cut ‘on nature’, ending with ‘wage war’? This haiku was not marked ‘workshopping’, but perhaps John will forgive us for gently suggesting a few preferences.
    As you post, to the right are the categories, which you can choose before publishing. They appear at the top of the post in orange beneath the heading. One of them is ‘workshopping’, which is for those haiku you are underconfident about when posting and actively seek rewriting proposals. If this category is not selected, we should be restrained and meek about any suggestions, friends… right?
    Hope we haven’t scared you off, dear John. As for the Zoo, entrance will be optional, I guess. Make a rendezvous with G for just after?

  6. OK, OK… I apologize for being a bit rough with my first comment!

  7. Living in Kyoto is an advantage for understanding John’s haiku. The city Fathers are having the Kamo River mud plowed up, dumping the mud into toy-like and very noisy dumpsters, which then, mysterious to me, take the mud a bit or more up/down stream and deposit it. What is the point, I wonder. The river can do that all by itself, tho that may take a couple decades to accomplish. So the city is in a hurry? Well, I have been here in Japan long enuf to know that probably the City Development Department discovered it has some extra money left over in their budget, so decided to put it to good use before the next fiscal year by making a real mess of our river. John’s haiku gets it right. Nature is the loser, along with us poets. Maybe some others, too. I like the play on cranes. The river is rife with cranes, long necked, short necked, white and gray necked, and a host of relations, like the cormorants. The steel cranes are disturbing the balance between the birds and the fish, probably in the fishes’ favor.

    daytime, no time to fish
    birds dodging diggers
    but at dark
    night herons strike

  8. Richard’s preceding comment is practically a haibun in itself. John’s haiku benefits indeed from such background. The authorities have also just, quite unnecessarily I would say, put in a whole set of new and brutal railings and paved areas just outside Hankyu Station in Arashiyama.

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