Dream Haiku for Kaneko Tohta

 

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

                                         now gone

 

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
not A-bombed

 

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.

 

Of note:

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:

https://roadrunnerhaikublog.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/kaneko-tohtas-blue-sharks/

 

 

Humor is the Fourth Dimension

Humor is the fourth dimension of this world, without it futile and unlivable . . .

A secret conquered at the cost of long suffering, humor is the answer to superior minds to this world in which they feel themselves alien. More than a natural secretion, as it has too often been regarded, humor manifests, on the contrary, the heroic attitude of those who are unwilling to compromise.

— Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism

 

Perhaps humor breaks the quantum bonds that are based on story . . . and laughter is the energy that is set free.

above
the sea of voices
a laughing gull

— Michelle Tennison