“In a word” haiku

World Poetry Day
Shanti, irini, malu
Béke, fifa, peace

Of what use are words
Vrede, wolakota, fred
Sérë, amani

If not to heal hearts
Sidi, layeni, hoa binh
Kapayapaan, paz

If not to bind wounds
Heiwa, rukun, hasiti
Ukuthula, pasch

If not to spread love
Soksang, pokoj, santiphap
Peoning hwa, pax

All we are saying
Paix, taika, rongo, baris
Uxolo, paci

Is give peace a chance
Solh, mir, pau, hetep, shalom
World Poetry Day

Synapse gap haiku, part II

One thing I’m sure of
Can’t be sure of anything
Yes, I’m sure of that

For how do we know
What we think we know, really?
Reason with me here

We think we decide
Based on logic, not feelings
But that’s a brain trick

We should admit there’s
No such thing as pure reason,
Disembodied thought

Because brains are part
Of the body, sensory
Organs like the rest

We hear what we want
Faulty memories, senses
Make us sure “That’s right!”

Surely certainty
Is a feeling, cleverly
Disguised as a thought

It’s the ultimate
In emotion, not reason,
That certain feeling

I guess that explains
Why more facts don’t often help
To change someone’s mind

Ambiguity
Seems more real, honest, though it’s
Less satisfying

Eventually, though
You have to decide, and act
— Just don’t be so sure

And of course, some things
We do know — and know they’re based
On all sorts of things

We know whom we love
And treasure, who makes our lives
Worth living each day

And sure, some feelings
Will disappear — so will life.
It’s called “now.” Live it.

“Lost my head” haiku

Happy Valentine’s Day. Last year it seemed as if lots of different people were singing to me. For some reason, this year it’s Van Morrison. Here are a couple of light ones.

“Crazy love,” I love
That craziest phrase in all
Its redundancy

Valentine, a saint
But not first guy, or last, who
Lost his head this day

I wrote a lot of verses last year, but for some reason this one got the most response. Hmmmm.

It’s Valentine’s Day!
Hug your sweetie; love your spouse
Just don’t let them meet

The whole 2011 bunch is here.

And here are the rest of this year’s, not so light.

Courageous, we love
Surrender our hearts, ourselves
Out beyond the fear

Courageous, we love
Losing those we hold most dear
Inevitably

No more to savor
Taste of salt, scent of flowers
Intoxicating

No more to drink in
Every line, curve, lash and lock
With forever’s thirst

But till then we dare
To love with all our senses
Out beyond all sense

“Write, writer, rightest” haiku

Carole King, Feb. 9, 1942

Carole King, such gifts
“You’ve Got a Friend,” “Sweet Seasons”
No one wrote more hits

It’s true. They counted.
Last half of last century
No one wrote more hits

“Will You Still Love Me
“Tomorrow” first of more than
100 to chart

They weren’t just jingles,
Either, but pieces of heart
Life in 3 minutes

Shirelles to Winehouse
Seems everyone’s sung your songs
Been better for it

Aretha, Dusty
The Byrds, Everly Brothers
Beatles, Rod Stewart

Even the Monkees
With “Sometime in the Morning”
Channeled your romance

“Tapestry” showed you
Could sing them, too, masterpiece
Of rich, royal hue

“I Feel the Earth Move,”
“It’s Too Late” — every affair’s
Alpha, Omega

But my favorite’s still
One I hope, somehow, is true:
“Only Love Is Real”

Seven decades, lived
In the magic of music
Lady, take a bow

“Best of verse, worst of verse” haiku

Beatles land at JFK — Feb. 7, 1964
Charles Dickens, Feb. 7, 1812 — June 9, 1870


British invasion
Fixed bayonets? No, moptops
Armed with 45’s

A Friday landing
New York’s Kennedy Airport
Started their conquest

They’d topped U.S. charts
With “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
More where that came from

Thousands screamed non-stop
Lost voices, inhibitions
Beautiful release

Sunday on his show
Sullivan announced the charge
“Right here on our stage”

40% watched
That first TV appearance
Millions all tune in

Then D.C. triumph
Occupied Carnegie Hall
Sullivan again

Left us wanting more
Like Oliver with his bowl
Loved them, yeah yeah yeah

Here’s another twist
That first U.S. landing came
On Dickens’ birthday

Google Doodle says
Great British author was born
Two centuries past

Crusader with pen
Captured boarding school horrors
The courts’ injustice

Railed at his country’s
Poverty amid plenty
With fiction quite real

Brought London to life
Upper class privileged, stifled
Poor scrabbling to live

Serialized work
Gave his stories a rhythm
Cliff-hangers galore

And the characters!
Nicholas Nickleby, Pip
David Copperfield

The Artful Dodger
Uriah Heep, Wackford Squeers
Mr. Micawber

Samuel Pickwick
Abel Magwitch, Tiny Tim
Ebenezer Scrooge

Dickens visited
U.S. twice, reading his works
Exploring New York

For second visit
Departed England, where else
But from Liverpool

Wined and dined, he made
Dozens of appearances
Dickensmania

Dickens on death bed
Said “be natural,” fulfill
“All the rules of art”

Years later, Fab Four
Would do just that, bring U.S.
One more manic gift

“Waist deep in words” haiku:

Feb. 1, 1884: First part of Oxford English Dictionary released

OED was born
At least the first installment
Called a fascicle

“Fascicle” — oh joy
600,000 words, they
Had to pick that one

It took 40 years
To finish that pig, which grew
To 12 … fascicles

A definition:
Fascicle — what you get when
You freeze your fas off

Second edition
Grew to 20 full volumes
Took 61 years

The third edition?
Complete through “Ryvita,” up
To its “S” in words

It’s also online
Good thing it’s just text or we’d
Be out of bandwidth

Happy birthday, book
With 600,000 words
Guess that says it all

Also see haiku from Aug. 22, when the latest OED update was released.

And from Oct. 6, haiku on British-isms, to mark U.K. Poetry Day.

And check out the latest newsletter for ABC Books in Springfield.

“There’s a word for that” haiku, redux

From Aug. 22, 2011, when the Oxford English Dictionary folks released an update.

People make up words
When old ones no longer do.
Oxford keeps a list

Wonder when the word
“Dictionary” first appeared?
You could look it up

Oxford started this
A century ago when
“Aeroplane” took wing

Today’s updates seem
Paltry in comparison:
“Woot,” “Mankini,” Ugh!

“Domestic goddess”
LOL, I like that one
And “sub-prime” is choice

“Cougar” (new meaning),
“Carbon footprint,” “Gastric band,”
“Slow food” have their place

Technology spawns
Some good ones: “Cyberbully,”
“Sexting,” “OMG”

Now if they’d just ditch
“Lifestyle” I’d be quite happy.
Fuzzy, mixed meaning

Yes, some made-up words
Still put me among WACOS:
“What A Crock Of … Stuff”

But I guess language
Can advance even if it’s
Sounding the retweet

Poe man’s haiku

Edgar Allen Poe, Jan. 19, 1809 — Oct. 7, 1849

He passed through this world
Like a wraith on holiday
A solid shadow

Abandoned, orphaned
Breathing disembodied words
Instead of Earth’s air

University,
Army, West Point had no use
For this phantom man

But the phantom’s words
Insinuated, haunted
Recesses most dark

Poet and critic,
Macabre’s master, creator
Of detective lit

Child cousin his bride
(Foreshadowing Jerry Lee)
Her death did them part

Before his heart stopped
Poe’s pen poured out his terrors
Still tingling today

Poe man’s haiku:

Flutter in the dark
Raven wings, or telltale heart
Terror of unknown

Single bead of sweat
Right between the shoulder blades
Defies gravity

Rustle in the dark
Fevered brain, or rodent’s claws?
Imagined, it’s real

“There’s a word for that” haiku

Peter Mark Roget
Jan. 18, 1779 — Sept. 12, 1869

It’s Thesaurus Day
Should we celebrate, revel,
Proclaim, or extol?

There’s a synonym
For thesaurus: lexicon
“Glossary” comes close

Peter Mark Roget
Doctor, inventor, researched
TB, laughing gas

Made log-log slide rule,
Tried to make calculator
More powers to him!

Studied optics, liked
Kaleidoscopes, but we know
What he’s famous for

“Roget’s Thesaurus
“Of English Words and Phrases”
Stuffed with synonyms

Of him we’re in awe
(Or reverential wonder)
And don’t lack for words

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