An autumnal haiku

An Autumnal Haiku

Nature does with a breeze,
what takes man
a hammer and chisel.
It was autumn here in Japan. Leaves were turning yellow and brown and gold and maroon and olive. I saw this leaf on the sidewalk. Just lying there, so perfectly curled up, and it reminded me of the Ionic columns of Greece ... the countless hammer hits it must have taken to create the ionic curls. All that nature had used to curl this leaf was a gentle breeze.

More Haiku ...

Seasons
Falling leaves in autumn
Apologetic trees
A bad case of dandruff
Aah, but the romance of leaves in autumn can easily be broken by jarring images and memories!! I will always remember this single tree in a large expanse of grass, branches bare and all its leaves scattered around it in a perfect circle E/font>
Silence of the forests
Elegant insects on leaves
Chewing their food slowly
In the middle of the beautiful forests in Karuizawa, Japan ... a whole new and different world is put on view
Sakura trees in winter
waiting buds giggle
to burst out green in spring
The green bud leaves are such a delight - of the coming joy of spring, of changing seasons, of a new dress, rejuvenated spirits ...
First snow of the season
Embarrassed flakes on the window
Quickly melt into water
The first snow in winter can be quite exciting, actually ... everyone rushes to the window just to see it fall, what a spectacle, what an event!!
Ecology and Environment
A cold winter morning
Breath condenses in the air
Everyone pollutes
Pollution, in all its forms, is becoming as common, as automatic, as unconscious, as breathing. When will we ever emerge out of this cold winter? How can we shock ourselves into action? What will, indeed, destroy this human apathy??
Smooth river pebble
Witness to a thousand changes
As it changes itself ...
I found this tiny smooth shiny pebble on the banks of Lake Biwa in central Japan. Target of intense clean up activity and focus on fresh water reserves, the stone represented Biwa itself - the many changes it had undergone over the many centuries ...
Large oil tanks
Arranged like sake cups
What giant drinks this??
I was bicycling past an oil processing plant, and saw these huge, huge oil tanks, arranged so nicely like the sake (wine) cups on a plate ... and wondered ... what kind of 'giant' drinks from these cups?? Man's thirst for energy, even if it comes from a non-renewable source known to pollute and negatively impact the environment, is difficult to understand.
Middle of a smoggy, noisy city,
a circle of birds settle in the river
quacking in concern
Early one morning, I was looking out of my apartment, and saw a flock of birds settled down in the middle of the nearby river, in a tight, white circle. Within the circle they were agitated, with birds flying in and out. They seemed concerned about something. It seems like humans have given up on the city,. In going about their daily lives, they have left it smoggy and noisy. The birds are concerned.
Love and all that ...
A lone violinist in the forest
The wind stops to listen
Maple leaves shiver with joy!
This actually happened - my friend playing her violin in a forest, oblivious to her surrounding - only herself, her violin and her music. The wind - that original creator of all music - did stop.
A cold winter day
snow falling thick
love warms the heart
What can you say? You get up in the morning, and a thick, thick layer of snow is visible from the bedroom window. You don't want to go out, and you don't mind. Your love is with you.


Three fishes in a stream
Perfect tension and stress
A couple and a loner
The three Japanese koi (carp fish) is my 'signature' namecard - shown on the left. People always asked me why three fish, why not two, or four, or even just one. And so a haiku as an answer. Somehow, I always felt sorry for that third fish that kept following the Koi couple. That's life.
Shinkansen
Speeding express train
Life through an open window
I wonder how their day went
Somehow, having stayed only in megacities in Japan, I wonder, always wonder, what life is like in the 'in-between towns and villages that I pass by on trains. An open window, people watching TV, having dinner, just talking ...
A village zips past the bullet train
Fast moving impressions
Slow moving life
You get only a few seconds to see the roof tops of a village, people walking by, cars parked on the side. You are in a hurry to get from A to B. But for so many people, life just goes on. When you think of it, how insignificant your problems become!!
About learning
Don't be afraid
of what you know
The unknown can be learnt
Students, whom I teach a variety of subjects, always complain before a looming exam, that they don't know this or don't know that. To calm them down, I always quote this haiku to them. It doesn't calm them, but at least distracts them enough to finish the exam.
Learn something daily
To stop learning
Is to die
A Japanese student once told me - "I am glad I attended your class, because after I become a 'salaryman' I will never be able to learn all these things." Wrong, I told him, and quoted this haiku as a response. Ultimately, this is what human development is all about. Learning. Everyday. Something new.
The street - a classroom
Everyone you meet
A teacher
And another student peeve I often hear is how they really wanted to get into the top unviersity and had to make do with a 'regional' university, due to low grades. And my response - the real 'university' is the street - where you learn hands-on. And everyone you meet has something new, interesting and different to teach you. Everyone is a potential teacher. Treat them as such ...
Cannot explain your work
To your grandmother?
Then its useless.
Thinking about strategic communications, and the need to target the right stakeholders, I wrote this ... But the "grandmother" here is a metaphor - think about it:

  1. She has been there a long time [HISTORY]
  2. She likes grand kids [FUTURE]
  3. She is concerned about her family [LOCAL]
  4. She's boss of daily life [APPLICABILITY]
  5. She's wise and can look at different viewpoints [BALANCE]
  6. She knows you well [STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS]
  7. She likes things simple [COMMUNICATION]
Just thoughts ...
A single rose in a vase
All different people
united by its beauty
I found this plastic rose - didn't know what to do with it. So I stuck it in a vase and stared at it for some time.
As babies
we are perfect humans
But wither as adults
I enjoy being with children, especially babies. They are so easy to make friends with. All you need is a smile. No hang-ups, no preconceived impressions or ideas. You are what you present yourself to be. No strings attached. It is only as we grow up and become 'adults' that we start to carry all that baggage and complicate the simplicity of human relationships.
All human need derives
from a need to procreate
and a need to eat
Think about it!! Everything we do, however complicated, stems from just two needs. I was thinking of sustainable development and impact of humans on our environment, when this hit me! Just two - to procreate, and to eat :-)

What is Haiku?
Haiku is traditional Japanese poetry that was just three lines long, having five japanese characters in the first line, seven in the second, and five again in the third line. But writing Haiku in English is not strict, and is usually limited to the 'three-line' rule.

Poetry-in-miniature, Haiku's attractiveness lies in its ability to pack so many images, ideas, thoughts, and memories in such short lines. Reading this - "Longing to hear her voice  /   I called her number  /  to listen to her answering machine" - is not only poignant, but also shows Haiku's contemporary appeal!


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