Friday, May 29, 2009

Moon over Manhattan haiku

Some friends asked me, "Why write English haiku, instead of Indonesian or Japanese ones?"

Since the very beginning, I found it hard to write haiku in my mother tongue. Just can't tell you why, since I am not native English speaker. English is my third language, after Javanese and Indonesian. Japanese? Oh, no... never been in Japan, never speak the language.

I learn about and read Baso, Issa, Akutagawa and other Japanese haiku masters in English. I also learn from reading Rotella, Ross, Clausen, Reichgold and others in English.

However, one thing is certain; English makes it easier for me to convey my messages on two haiku basic principles; simplicity and depth. Yea, I admit that I don't stick to its traditional metrical pattern so that you won't always find 5-7-5-syllable verses in my works. I am not overvaluing my works, but in my subjective opinion, English helps me during the writing. It also helps me in translating the work of others.

Here, you may find the original works of Chandra Prijosusilo in Indonesian. She wrote it as the haiku moment touched her in Manhattan. I was not there, surely. But I tried to feel the moment by projecting the imagery to my mind, as she described the situation very briefly. My translation in italic.

Rembulan setengah lingkaran
Tersenyum lembut terangi malam
Menjuntai dari surga...
Mencium sudut gedung kaca

shines on window glass
heavenly kiss

Matahari terbit dari puncak gedung
dan bersama siang merayap turun
menuju tanah di Manhattan.

sunset from the rooftop
touches the ground and dies
down in Manhattan

Geuceu, Bandar Raya, May 25, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chandra Prijosusilo, a devotional haiku

I have many friends. Some of them are old friends from my boyhood, colleagues, schoolmates and the rest are the ones who meet me in rare occasions. I would mention Chandra Prijosusilo if I were to name one that falls under the last category.

Chandra graduated from Faculty of Psychology, Gadjah Mada University. She started her study in GMU in 1987, the year when I did the same in Faculty of Economics. We shared the same building for the first two years. However, I can't recall whether I ever met her at the time being. But, after years, I met her in Puncak during the training on journalism for NGOs, supported by Transparency International-Indonesia Chapter. It was April 2008.

I didn't expect to contact her after the training. We didn't trade contact address, phone number or email coordinate. But, I was lucky since I found her on Facebook and she accepted my friend request.

Since we're connected, we share pictures and notes. Sometimes, I drop some lines on her comment box and vice versa. As I am into poem, and recently in love with haiku, I tag her on my notes on Facebook. She usually put her comment in haiku form or other poetry. And, you know what, I found it's so fun and challenging when we tried to do the conversation in poetical ways. I write haiku, and she will add hers in my comment box.

Today, she commented in haiku-form on my Facebook note (see the post right before this one). And the following are my response to hers.

love song
resonates in my heart
growls in my belly

sunset at the beach
glittering water below the horizon
running in my throat

a matter of light
sincere camaraderie
me and my shadow

eternal wheel of life
a merry-go-round
and running squirrel

Geuceu, Bandar Raya, May 28, 2009

Gentle breeze haiku

runaway kids
some raindrops reside
in the rosebud

minutes to dusk
gentle breeze hushes
the windchime

Geuceu, Bandar Raya, May 28, 2009

Romantic haiku

juicy and succulent
emulates our last french kiss
:baked eggplant

candle light
and your vibrant beauty
dinner’s just perfect

no words
just two beating hearts
love in the making

Geuceu, Bandar Raya, May 28, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Big city haiga

Lights and electricity have characterized big cities all over the world. In the nights, we may find colors in light bulbs, streetlights, neon signs, billboards and other outdoor medias. They all shine the light. Soo... much light, that make the night as bright as day. And, in daylight, who can see the moon?

Many big cities are also characterized by polluted air. Floating polluted cloud is often thick enough to block our view to the moon, when it is there in the sky. So, big city dwellers, ever miss the moon?

Kayo Jatho, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fall haiku

falling leaves
voicelessly touch the ground
and turn cold

sunset wind
the night falls
the curtain falls

cipendok falls
a crane standing
with folded wings

fall in love
costs you reason
to follow the heart

the good and the evil
both categories
I fall into

Kayo Jatho, May 21, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bright eyes haiku

the first light
shines on my face
the radiant of your eyes

the first light
each and every morning
the touch of your lips

Lampineung, May 13, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bare tree haiku

rotten mangoes
on the ground under the tree
home just too early

the sun is burning
a bird feeding the babies
on a bare tree

Kayo Jatho, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dancing light haiku

after the dawn
cold wind and morning haze
:birds chirping

the first light
burst into my room
oh my old curtain

the wind gently sweeps
treetops outside my window
:dancing light

Lampineung, May 11, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Daddy's haiku

Afrizal Hasbi my youngest child

Some says that it takes nerve to be a father. Am I a brave one? Are you?

stop ageing
it’s just how it really feels—
playing with my kids

like father like son;
don’t know why this expression
scares me

Meuraxa, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Silent sparrow haiga

This is another haiga from me. Not really original as I already read one on Bruce Ross book. However, when the scene came across my mind, I found another angle to capture the moment. While the writer focused on the bird (s), I loved to emphasize on the circumstances.

Again, for my incompetence, I searched the image on the internet. Eureka! You can see it here. Thx, for reading and enjoying. I am indebted for the image to

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sunny afternoon haiga

I am no visual artist. Overlaying words on images is nothing but a torture for me. So it is when I think about haiga (俳画 ?). In Japanese literary tradition, Wikipedia says, haiga is a style of Japanese painting based on the aesthetics of haikai, from which haiku poetry derives, which often accompanied such poems in a single piece. Like the poetic forms it accompanied, haiga was based on simple, yet often profound, observations of the everyday world.

Yes, I learned a bit about haiku, tanka, renga or haibun. But haiga, for me, is completely different thing as it requires an image that emphasizes the message of the poetic form conveyed by the words. The image, be it just a sketch or more sophisticated painting, is the source from which the simplicity, the depth of the poem radiates. However, I am no visual artist. The best I can do to do this haiga is doing a slight manipulation on an piece of picture. I know you don't expect too much from this. But, thx for dropping by.

Keutapang, May 5, 2009.