Tag Archives: haiku

In Robert Epstein’s “The Haiku Way to Healing”

Pleased to see Robert Epstein’s anthology is out! “The Haiku Way to Healing: Illness, Injury and Pain” is a significant contribution to haiku literature, a testament to the power of this very short form of poetry to express and share even the most painful of moments.

Honored that my work is included in this collection.

Here is one of my poems from page 207, initially part of a haibun published in “Contemporary Haibun Online” 17.1, and recently included in my juxtaEIGHT article ‘Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Haiku’ (pp.37-61)

dyskinesia…
how tall grass
sways

healing

Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Haiku

Juxtapositions

 The eighth issue of Juxtapositions: Research and Scholarship in Haiku is out. JuxtaEIGHT is a themed issue on “haiku and wellness,” with several articles, interviews, and resources addressing this theme. And it includes two contributions by yours truly: the article “Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Haiku” is now available to download (pp 37-61), as well as a description of Haikupedia from the Resources section of Juxtapositions: Check them out here https://thehaikufoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/juxtaeight.pdf

I copy below the Abstract of the Parkinson’s article:

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)—the fastest growing neurodegenerative condition worldwide—affects a wide range of motor and nonmotor functions. At present, there is no cure. Only symptomatic treatment is available, aiming to improve quality of life and slow progression. The aim of this paper is to recommend haiku as a therapeutic tool helping with symptoms and, potentially, rate of progression. To this end, following a brief description of PD, and its symptoms grouped under two areas of loss resulting in life diminishment, I touch upon the general role of art and literature in augmenting pharmacological treatment of the disease, before focusing on some of the qualities of haiku (in the process of writing as well as the created poem) that collectively make haiku a containing vessel that can hold and transform the distress associated with the disease into a more bearable experience.

Gardening, table tennis, Parkinson’s…and haiku

Starting to prepare the garden and plants for winter. Several plants will be taking refuge in the greenhouse, where a heater will be protecting them from the frost’s cruel bites. Others will be toughening it out in the beds, with only a thick cover of straw.

For the first time, I will be planting garlic. I got the reading done, added a bed just in front of the greenhouse, and in a week or two, I will be planting. In the greenhouse, there will be potatoes growing in pots, salads, and herbs. Oh, the excitement! The excitement!

Having written an article on Parkinson’s and Haiku (Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Haiku), I am playing with the idea of sequels. Such as? Well, Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Gardening; Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Table Tennis; Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Felting! You get my gist. Between planting garlic, practicing serves, writing, and soaping wool there’s no time for apathy. Right? For now, at least…

he fills his calendar

.

soon to retire
he fills his calendar
with seed starting charts

If you are wondering what happened to the greenhouse…here it is! With its shade net hat, as it is very hot here, reaching 93 Fahrenheit or more.

Still work to be done to the surrounding area, but the greenhouse works already. We’ve sown various seeds in eggshells and egg boxes, planted rosemary cuttings, tomato and cucumber plants…Well worth the time and effort …

.

.

Body language


Sixty years ago, she swallowed her grandmother’s most valuable possession: a ring, the only object to have survived the forced expulsion from their ancestral lands. The very ring that her grandmother, every night before bed, kissed and raised to the sky as if God needed the daily reminder that he had let her down.

Since that day of the half-accidental ingestion, and for two years afterward, the child was forced to use a potty, so that her grandmother could search its contents for the ring. To no avail.

In the summer of 2021, however, the ring exited the girl—now a grandmother herself—as if of its own volition. Effortlessly. The symbol of her family’s pain that her muscles had smothered, had been released. She heard the sound and to her astonishment, saw the ring lying at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Feeling nauseous, and while trying to steady herself, she accidentally pulled the chain that flushed away her long-held secret. She caught a glimpse of the ring before it disappeared in the swirling water to join the big, open sea.

letting go—
hunger for Scheherazade’s
stories

*

In Drifting Sands Haibun, issue 14, March 2022

icicle

Happy to have won third prize in The Haiku Foundation February 2022 Kukai

theme: icicle

icicle . . .
how long will he take
to forgive me

     — Stella Pierides (51 points – 4; 3; 2; 5; 3)

kukai haiga

Remarks below are by Dee Evetts, THF Monthly Kukai Commentator. He is an internationally known haiku poet and author of “The Conscious Eye” series on contemporary themes in Frogpond in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I find that a great deal is implied here. It is winter. There has been a falling out, and apparently a felt culpability on the part of the writer. Possibly the weather (or another circumstance) has forced the couple or pair to be together when they might otherwise have chosen to put some distance between themselves –– at least for part of the day. There is a prevailing silence, and at best, monosyllabic and toneless exchanges when strictly necessary. This is one of those “suit yourself” kind of domestic stand-offs. It is true that I am embroidering –– even weaving my own version of the poem. Another reader will come up with a different story. What counts is that the poet has given us room to speculate, while at the same time giving us the very concrete image of the (how gradually?) thawing icicle.

Introducing Haiku

I am thrilled to be teaching the course Introduction to Haiku (and related forms) for the second time at Parkinsons.Art.

Parkinson’s Art is a non-profit organisation run by artists and writers living with Parkinson’s disease.

Its mission is to:

  • Promote the benefits of art to those affected by Parkinson’s Disease
  • Provide a platform to collaborate and share artwork
  • Showcase Parkinson’s art and raise awareness through exhibitions and events

Trevor Woollard, who set up Parkinsons.Art, noted that a lot of the major charities in the sector focus – rightly so – on exercise. But there are huge numbers of people who are less mobile or not sport-orientated or don’t have that kind of ability. And they’re often forgotten.

Exercise is important – but so is exercising the mind and soul.

The course, starting 12 February 2022 and running for 8 weeks, is free. All are welcome to apply (see Homepage). But hurry! Places are limited!