Images of Time

July 23, 2012

Spools emit timed loop.

Metaverses rev−

A temenos

Till unmet systems we defile:

Vaginae, coronae,

Code-born aminos in universes’ rev−

A tempo old.

Lost in robe regal

It raced, untended

New as birth, gill, animal foot

Oh photo of laminal light!

Ribs a wended net

Nude cartilage

Reborn, it’s old.

Loop metaverses rev in unison

I, Man, robed ocean, or

Ocean, I gave life.

Dews met system;

Null, it’s one.

Metaverses rev

–a tempo old–

Emit time’s loops

Moon haikiah

June 28, 2012

Slate pond –

Lone moon met stem; no omen

Old, no petals

Cicada haikiah

June 25, 2012

Parts tense, gardenia droner is sad

A cicada’s siren, ordained, rages

Nets trap


The first time I heard a cicada was in a Tokyo street at night, and I honestly thought it was a security alarm, such was the intensity of its siren.

With haiku, the 5-7-5 syllable count is only really relevant in Japanese, in which it is as natural a rhythm as iambic pentameter is in English.

Basho’s Bed

May 26, 2012

Set a ballade–

Be not sad.

No plan, I forego regret.

A wet I? Mere folly…

Dim, lacy moths, in a vigor, fall.

Ill at last, I move to (no regrets) a faded dale–

A glade, pools.

Some more go too?


Jump! ol’ frog, or flop.

Mujo no oto1


Me, moss-looped, algael,

Added a faster gero note,

Vomit salt, all ill.

A frog, I vanish

To my calm idyll of eremite water

…gero gero…

Final pond –

A stone bed

All abates



Notes and comments

1. Mujo no oto. Japanese for ‘the sound of impermanence’. Mujo or impermanence is an important concept in Buddhism and central to Zen aesthetics. This phrase also references Basho’s original haiku, the final line of which is ‘mizu no oto‘ – the sound of water.

 2. Gero gero is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a frog’s croak, but is also used adverbially to describe vomiting. This pun was one of the inspirations for the poem.

I cobbled together this longer poem from some ideas generated as I created the first Basho poem, After the frog. In this one, I imagine Basho retiring to a solitary hermitage (in a shady glade, with lacy moths, pools, etc.) and himself diving into a pool to join the frogs. The ‘gero‘ grows more urgent inside him until he can’t contain it (‘a faster gero note’). He vomits salt, and sees that he himself has become a frog.

The final stanza is itself a haiku, and nicely captures the essence of the poem: all regret and suffering disappears in this hermit’s final resting place.

After the frog

May 24, 2012

I, Basho, sit in a rigor, fond.

No plop, ol’ pond? No frog? I ran

It is – oh! – sabi.


Notes and comments

Fond: Used here in its archaic sense of foolish

Sabi: A Japanese word with no simple translation. An important aesthetic concept in Japanese art and life, it denotes a kind of elegant, refined simplicity with implications of solitude and antiquity.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is Japan’s most famous and beloved of haiku poets.

This haikiah was inspired by his most well-known haiku

furu ike ya

kawazu tobikomu

mizu no oto

Which translates fairly literally as

Old pond –

A frog dives in

The sound of water

In a twist, I imagine Basho sitting by the pond again, on another day, waiting for a frog to plop, but becoming overwhelmed by the lonely beauty of the scene as no frog appears.

Moth ash ver. 2

May 3, 2012

Moth ash

Deer field–

Idle, I freed too sere moths

Ah! To meld, arcing

In ebony align.

I wish to melt

‘Til – little moths –

I wing, I lay.


Benign, I cradle moth ash to

Mere soot.

Deer field, idle I



Notes and comments

Lying in bed last night I noticed a few more imperfections and possibilities, so here is a revised and ever so slightly expanded version.

1) The opening line ‘too sere moths’ seemed too abrupt, and I realised that ‘Deer field’ was a good context setter and ‘deer field, idle I freed’ is palindromic so could be tacked onto the beginning/end easily. It also works nicely in terms of palindrome poetics in that the end takes us back to the start, but something has changed – the poet himself is now freed, perhaps.

2) I changed ‘ebony / a sign … I say’ to ‘ebony align… I lay’. The use of ‘align’ adds to the sense of the poet melding – aligning himself – with the moths. ‘Lay’ also adds another flying (or landing) verb.

3) Having lost the ‘I say’, the ‘No’ is less dramatic, slightly more detached and introspective, more in keeping with the tone.