Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 97 - Haiku - 10 (Ginsberg on Haiku continues)



Student:  (Allen, what about the sound in (haiku) poems?)   

AG:  Oh, sure.  There's a whole sound (presented) in certain of these books, if you want the sound.  These books by (R.H.) Blyth, he'll give you the Japanese lettering, he'll very often give you some phonetic transmission of the Japanese sound, as well as, incidentally, explanations, footnotes, and comparisons to Western poems. 

Sound is important.  It's a seventeen-syllable machine, with certain kinds of internal rhymes, and certain phrases like "ah", or "oh", or "kana" - "kana" - which are used for emphasis and filler of syllables.  Filler meaning filler emphasis-isms.

Student:  (I also recall that in Japanese some of them sound like (perhaps) another word) 

AG:  Right.

Student: (Sound. Content. Precision)

AG:  And Blyth points out that you probably find more haiku in precise prose than you might in poetry, (or at least in the nineteenth-century poetry - Tennyson and the Georgian poets - that Blyth was brought up on - he, being an older man, who was brought up in 1910, reading British poets before Pound, before (Ezra) Pound's influence of sharpening direct treatment of the object).  So he points out that prose probably offers more haiku than poetry. 

However, the point of these that I'm reading is the mind-jumps, the mind-gaps, the space- jumps, the time-jumps, the two poles of image (one, and another that you fill in with your imagination, conjuring up in your mind space/time/compression), with the mother eating the astringent parts of the persimmons - that what is unnameable is conjured up in imagination by the coordinates in actual space and time perceivable (or space and time themselves are suggested in all their vastness by tiny coordinates contained within them).  So it's the mind content, or mental content, or structure, that is perceptual  (the structure of perceptions in haiku that I was trying to manifest with these), rather than the technical poetic aspects of number of syllables - seventeen - filler-words used, history of them, or assonance. There's quite a bit of assonance in them, and internal rhyme. 

      There's a repeat of one that I did before but in larger [form]:

      Misty rain on Mount Rothe incoming tide at Sekko
      Before you have been there, you have many regrets,
      When you have been there and come back,
      It is just simply misty rain on Mount Ro, the incoming tide at Sekko.

      And parallel to that:

      This New Years Day
      that has come at last
      just another day.

      New Years Day
      the hot just as it is
      nothing to ask for
      
      The scissors hesitate
      before the white chrysanthemums
      a moment.

 Does anybody have (William Carlos) Williams' Collected Later Poems here? Well, there's a Williams poem about..  "The Act" I think it's called:

      There were roses, in the rain.
      Don't cut them, I pleaded. They won't last, she said.
      But they're so beautiful where they are.
      Agh, We were all beautiful once, she said
      and cut them and gave them to me in my hand.

      The scissors hesitate
      before the white chrysanthemums
      a moment.

So, what's conjured up there?  The scissorer is hardly mentioned. It's just the action, and seeing the action of the scissors themselves hesitating before the white chrysanthemums you have the whole philosophy of emotions.  A whole philosophy of emotions and reactions and sensitivities and philosophies about transitoriness. 
      Similar to that:

      Ah! grief and sadness
      the fishing line trembles
      in the autumn breeze.

You can take that any way you want - whether the wind is rippling the fishing rod, or the hand holding the rod is trembling. 

      I'm almost done with these, actually.            tape breaks here

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