I’ve just been reading a selection of depressing poems. The theme for the issue (a concept that is deeply depressing even before you read the poems) was current events – war in the Ukraine and Global Warming. It’s difficult to treat either of these subjects with the spirit of karumi that is often cited as a guiding principle of writing haiku. It can be summed up, I believe, as “lightness of touch”. Banging on about children being bombed or world hunger is not karumi. It’s not necessarily interesting either. And although a poem by Wilfred Owen is a thing of horror and beauty, a poem about a poem by Wilfred Owen is not.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely and unequivocally against genocide, nuclear winter and the end of the world. But I’m also against bad poetry.
I’ve written plenty of it, but I generally resist the temptation to let it out into the world. Sometimes it does get out, and sometimes it even gets published. This happened with a haibun a few months ago. I tried a new, more modern style (hoping to curry favour with the type of editor who wants to be “excited” by haibun) and it was duly published. It was dreadful. I was ashamed of myself, and it will not be featuring in my collected works.
We went to the garden centre today. It’s a local one that started during lockdown. One of the market stalls in town owns it. It’s quite broken down and old-fashioned, and it’s where they used to raise the plants they sold on the market.When business dropped off due to Covid they finished on the market and launched as a garden centre. It’s a refreshing change from the average modern garden centre, which is more of a gift shop than anything else. Julia went shopping while I sat in the car and watched the wildflower meadow. Very restful.