A New Moon
haiku by Bruce H. Feingold
It is said that Matsuo Basho sought to make haiku poetry a way of life, which is why many refer to haiku not as "the art of haiku", but as "the way of haiku". When Hackett writes of the way of haiku he says that those who follow the way
have realized "that Now is not only a holy time, but is in truth the only time there is."
Arranged in six sections, some geographically selected (such as "Berkeley" or "Maui") and others topically (such as "Family and Friends" and "A Faintly Smiling Buddha"), the selection gives Bruce an opportunity to share the many Nows of life that he has committed to haiku. Unlike some haiku poets who dwell exclusively on loneliness and the transitory nature of our existence, Feingold feels free to express the moment, whether it be whimsical, startling, or sobering.
As a true haiku poet then, we see constant awareness in this book that "Now" is a time worth recording in haiku:
Far from being a minimalist, Feingold's poetry is enriched with carefully selected adjectives that paint the scene for us more clearly. Rather than crippling the English language, Feingold paints rich pictures for us with "a kiva floor", "a cinnamon haze", "rainswept streets" and an "ivory thunderhead".
a cool starlit night -
campus chimes carry the scent
of burnt hillside
a rainbow sparkles|
over the roadside fruit stand:
"Leave Money In Box"
featherless chick -
a yellow jacket crawls in
a hollow eye socket
The same range of expression is true of his senryu, as we see him sharing Nows of the joys of parenting:
cleaning the gutters -
out of pine needles and dust,
a silvery moth
and the tragedy of losing a friend to cancer:
awake at midnight
my two year old fondles
his new lunch box
Throughout the book we find other expressions of creativity in the form of pencil drawings by Eona, an artist living in Maui. The simple black and white illustrations, framed like the poems in this book with plenty of white space to let them stand on their own, seem a fitting complement to the haiku form.
her crystal blue eyes
protrude from a bald skull
shafts of winter light
Bruce Feingold closes this collection of haiku by saying "If the haiku and senryu help you feel deeply about yourself, others, and the natural world, and if you experience beauty and truths that otherwise you might overlook in your daily life, I'll be satisfied that my poems have been successful."
By those terms, Bruce, this reviewer would call the book a huge success!
A New Moon, by Bruce H. Feingold, 2004. 77 pages.
Red Moon Press.
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