The following haiku is from a dream, copied down verbatim. At the time I knew it was written in response to, and in honor of the work of Kaneko Tohta:
at what point
during the A-bomb
did the cherry blossoms bloom
How did the impact of Tohta’s poetry weave a way into my dreams? His work was largely unknown in the west until the publication of a series of works translated from the Japanese by The Kon Nichi Translation Group, (of which Richard Gilbert is a member). The strikingly original imagery and often surreality of Tohta’s haiku cause them to linger in the consciousness long after reading.
I was struck by his unflinching, matter-of factness when addressing topics like the war and the unspeakably horrific Atomic bomb:
one dog two cats
we three finally
This alongside his gift for transcendently sensitive imagery reflecting on man’s relationship to Nature makes Tohta’s work remarkable, moving, and deeply affecting:
we all flow, float away
the sea tide stays
The two haiku above are from Kaneko Tohta: Selected Haiku With Notes and Commentary, Part 2: 1961-2012, published by Red Moon Press in 2012.
Scott Metz has written an exploration of Tohta’s blue sharks haiku, including numerous possible translations from a variety of sources, as well as a look at the unexpected role of surrealism in haiku. This R’r blog entry is well worth a second or even third read and can be found in the Roadrunner Haiku Journal archives here:
I wonder if we could view ourselves from the next dimension if our words and actions would seem as odd as dreamspeak does upon waking …
I can’t deep rain of thorns
The rules of the game belong to the tombstones (post 2016 election)
remember childhood math
a big dip
of the big dipper
angel of God,
I’m ready for my closeup now
These are so nonsensical that I couldn’t in good conscience try to include them in murmuration, (my first collection of haiku), but I love them just the same!
— Surrealist dream proverb, Michelle Tennison
I, the Language of Dreams, photograph by Michelle Tennison
What will you find if you write down the dialogue of your dreams?
The following are excerpts from my own dreams, copied verbatim upon awakening. At the time I was experimenting with writing poetry during hypnogogic states. It has been said that such dreamspeak has something in common with schizophrenic language and can be meaningful in an abstruse way. It can also be quite comical.
Below you will find snippets from a pedantic conversation about sculpture (which at the time seemed quite erudite), proverbial wisdom, and surrealist poetry:
Upon viewing art in a museum setting: “That’s a beautiful booger named gunshot.”
Walk to the lake on your many-toed journey.
dolls roll down in village trees
kisses salt until the sea salt that led the sea
beginning I’m a slow drifter
the sunshine weight
of butterfly 8