Author: Ellen Grace Olinger

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..." From Ecclesiastes 3:11a (KJV).

Presents of Mind: Haiku and Illustrations by Jim Kacian. Bilingual edition (2006): English and Japanese.

Today I am pleased to share a few excerpts from Presents of Mind, by Jim Kacian (Red Moon Press).

 
Haiku is composed of language.
It cannot be composed of silence.
 
But unlike most language,
haiku does not attempt to oppose silence.
It attempts to point to silence.
 
Haiku can set into motion
oscillations in the silence between us.
 
In this way haiku can be poised
between language and silence.
In this way it can suggest
the centrality of silence.
 
Where silence is shared,
we are all present. 
 
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Reprinted with kind permission from Jim Kacian.
Presents of Mind (2006)
Red Moon Press
 
 

Jim Kacian is Founder and Director of The Haiku Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to archiving of the achievements of our first century of English-language haiku, and creating opportunities for our second; creator and owner of Red Moon Press, the largest and most prestigious publishing house dedicated to English-language haiku in the world; and the author of 15 books of haiku and related works.

The Wikipedia article about Jim Kacian includes additional information.

Post updated on July 8, 2015.

SUMMER

 SUMMER

Sometimes
life comes faster
than it can be lived

One year
grows into another
and another into

Still another
and the crowded
soul cries out.

Time is taken
but not given
to new poems yet…

The overgrown
garden needs
weeding and pruning

Still another
cold night
on the horizon.

Then, by His mercy
another summer
is given…

Butterflies and
hummingbirds find
the renewed garden

And geraniums
kept alive in winter
bloom outside again.

Time of Singing (1994); www.timeofsinging.com.

And So My Soul (Elin Grace Publishing, 2001).

Ancient Words by Margarita Engle and Ellen Olinger: Haiku Sequence in English and Spanish

ANCIENT WORDS

reading ancient words
stones in a field
left by glaciers
EO

pensamiento*
flor de memoria
mi abuela

pansy
flower of memory
my grandma
ME

silent grace
with friends
magnolias
EO

wishing well
my penny
in sunlight
ME

letting go
daffodils bloom
in the compost pile
EO

camino al monte
un sueño
de paz

mountain road
a dream
of peace
ME

*The Spanish name for “pansy,”  which also means “thought.”

“Ancient Words” was published first in Time of Singing (Spring 2010), which is edited by Lora H. Zill.  Contributing Editors for this issue:  Darlene Moore Berg and H. Edgar Hix.

* * *

Margarita’s biography (July 17, 2010):

Margarita Engle is a botanist and the Cuban-American author of young adult novels in verse, most recently The Firefly Letters.

The Surrender Tree received a Newbery Honor, the Pura Belpré Medal, Jane Addams Award, Américas Award, Claudia Lewis Award, and Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor. The Poet Slave of Cuba received the Pura Belpré Medal, Américas Award, and an International Reading Association Award. Tropical Secrets received the Sydney Taylor Award, Paterson Prize, and an Américas Award Commendation. Engle’s next novel in verse is Hurricane Dancers, the First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck, forthcoming from Henry Holt in March, 2011.

Chapbooks include Word Wings (Elin Grace Publishing).

Engle’s first Henry Holt picture book is Summer Birds, the Butterflies of Maria Merian.

Margarita lives in northern California, where she enjoys hiking and helping her husband with his volunteer work for wilderness search and rescue dog training programs. Her next picture book is about search and rescue dogs.

Here are some of the daffodils from the compost pile.
Photo by Karl.

And So My Soul

And so my soul
Spills over
Into print again
As the sun spills
Over flowers
And the neighborhood
Sleeps

Endurance is eloquent
And marigolds are
Admirable because
They bloom
So long

Oh, my heart
Is tender
Yet God keeps it
Strong
And so my soul
Spills over
Into print again

Time of Singing (1991).

Seagulls Soaring in the Storm

Seagulls are soaring in today’s storm.  The daffodils are the sun.  And the house feels like a safe boat, anchored to the land.   Letters to write.  Poems to read.   Dishes to put away.

Sometimes we wonder how we got through certain stretches of time.   For me, books are an anchor.    Libraries and bookstores are where I love to go.    “In the beginning was the Word,” as John’s Gospel begins.

I don’t remember learning to read, and I know this is a blessing.  When did the garden become so colorful again?  When did new happiness arrive?   It’s not an even process.   There is mystery in faith and growth.   We keep reaching out too; and there is work involved in healing as well, in my experience.

One thing I have learned is that flexibility is an important part of happiness.  Many things have not gone as I had planned or hoped.   Yet I feel God’s plan is unfolding, and the life He has given me is the only one I want.

Today does not feel like May.  But it surely is.