That July


P5041243 (5)

A haipho from the summer by Akira Kibi.

Click on the work to enlarge. Comments solicited!

10 Responses to “That July”

  1. Exhilarating. Cutting the second ‘the’ might be an improvement?

  2. Claire Gardien Says:

    back in the cave –
    even sun burning
    is another blue wave

  3. It took me a minute to get the pun in haipho. Must be getting old. :-)

    My only thought is this: The haiku doesn’t add anything to the photo. It more or less re-states what the photo already beautifully expresses. My guiding principle would be that the two arts should be like opposite ends of a seesaw, each complimenting the other by opposites—the realization somewhere in the middle. I think Claire’s contribution accomplishes that, inviting the reader/viewer to see the photo differently than he or she might have.

    • Thank you for your comments so far. ‘Haiku photo’ reduces to hai-pho: that’s all. I’m unaware of a pun. Perhaps I too am getting old. In Japan some have called them sha-hai (the ‘sha’ of ‘shashin’, photo). It’s the same thing really. I think your comment, Vermont, about how the haiku and the photo might better work is an important one. It’s the same thing with haiga and haibun. The respective images in painting/poem and in prose/poem should not be so close as to be repetitive. Counterpoint rather than simple reflection is usually better. I cannot agree with you, however, that Akira’s haiku adds nothing here. (Please excuse the dissent!) For me, it lends a poetic frame of mind by means of which I get even more out of the photo. For instance, his use of ‘that’ sets up intriguing resonances. I also like the smallness of the font size set against the enormity of the natural scene.

      • Oh, dear… We are back to English greeting cards!

      • Would you accept it, Ken, if the haiku were sufficiently different from the photo? Or is a haiku best per se without any illustration at all. (I think I know the answer!)

  4. I know, and I know you know the answer!

  5. Thank you for your comments. I wasn’t conscious enough of the relationship between my haiku and photo. What crossed my mind when I made the haipho, though, was the remark Kobodaishi (Kukai) had purportedly made, when he came out from the cave of disciplinary meditation. He saw only the sky and the sea, hence his name Ku (sky)- kai (sea), taking root in that particular moment of coming out of the cave (meditation) into nature itself. I felt my experience on Gozo Island had something in common with Kukai’s. But this aspect is perhaps too philosophical and has nothing to do with the fresh feeling of the moment of Haiku when I saw the blue.
    Akira KIBI

    • That’s interesting. I’ll read haiku by Basho (et al.) and have no clue as to what they’re going on about, and then read the commentary and be told that they were cleverly referencing some “famous” poem from the 10th century (that any educated Japanese reader–I mean, duh– would have immediately — so the thinking goes — recognized). I’d be curious to know how many modern Japanese readers get these references.

      The challenge for you (or us) is compounded. How many western readers are going to get your reference to Kukai? Two? Seven and a half?

      The equivalent for us, I suppose, would be referencing Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats, or Eliot.

      Anyway, I don’t know how much “deeper” this makes your haipho (knowing this reference), but knowing makes it more interesting (and its success and failure easier to judge).

      But that’s the quandary for western writers of haiku who want to pretend like they’re 18th century Japanese poets, right? If you have to spell it out after the fact, then to that extent your haipho arguably fails. Do you turn your haipho into somewhat of a haibun? Do you add that explanation? — or do you wait for future literary critics to footnote your world-renowned catalog of works? ;-)

      That’s a tough question. I know. As my posthumous fame and wealth steadily creeps closer, I ask myself that question all the time. I’m sure you do too.

    • Hi Akira,

      Great photo. . . Thanks for sharing the background of your experience. I believe that the first two lines of your poem begin to lead the reader toward that experience. However, if part of your poem is to allude to Kukai’s meditation, I imagine that leaving the cave would be leaving one world, and “crossing over” into another world. That world would be the sea & sky as represented in your photo, which you said Kukai saw when leaving the cave. If this is the case, I wonder if “July” is the best image to represent this other world? Moving on, I think the last line could express how your experience connects to Kukai’s.

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