Thursday, September 14, 2006

THE RIVER RETURNS

"On my saying, 'What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?' my friend suggested, 'But these impulses may be from below, not from above.' I replied, 'They do seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil.' No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the wrong what is against it."
---
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance


T
hough I have been writing short lyrical poems for over three decades and practising haiku and tanka in English for over fifteen years, I could find my rhythm in miniature poems only recently.

Now I do not adhere to 5-7-5 syllables, nor do I make any difference between haiku and senryu. I just practise haiku in different beats (3-5-3; 4-6-4; 5-7-5) or free-form haiku, and when possible, expand its lyrical content to a tanka in five lines without restricting myself to 5-7-5-7-7- rhtyhm.

As readers will bear me out, it is possible to convey so much within the 3- or 5-line span of the short-long-short or short-long-short-long-long flow of the haiku or tanka rhythm. It is also possible to elevate the quotididan experiences to the level of poetry using the medium of haiku and tanka, provided one seeks to be visual or sensuous, or expresses natural concrete action or object, or experiences from ones whole being, and does not 'fake' poetic feelings or render fictitious or imaginative experiences.

In my new collection, selected tanka and haiku , at times providing sequences, I have tried to evoke the essence of the moment in its sensory details as selflessly as possible. Even as I appear to speak directly, the subjective and the objective tend to mix up, hopefully, wihout compromising the emotional content, passion, vigour or freshness. Yet, if I sound different, it could be a matter of sensibility.

THE RIVER RETURNS: A COLLECTION OF TANKA AND HAIKU . Published by
Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly 243003, India. Price: US $ 8.00. ISBN 81-7977-188-1

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