Contemplating “first snow” . . .

Thanks to Alegria Imperial for posting an announcement on her blog jornales about Sketchbook’s haiku thread, a place to work out thoughts about winter’s “first snow.”  I won’t worry you with the many obsessive turns I took contemplating what those words mean to me, especially since I have yet to experience any snow this season.  Still, I know it’s coming.  I can feel it.

first snow . . .
the brush of mother’s fingers
straightening my coat

without a slip,
I pull my little sister
through first snow . . .

first snow–
the smell of scratchy woolens
clutching my throat

About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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8 Responses to Contemplating “first snow” . . .

  1. oh. yeah. i like that first one a lot, Margaret. the last one, i like that one too. the middle one. . . to me… it’s not easy to tell, does it feel like a sentence broken into 3 lines? i wonder this, because i know i have to watch for this in my own ku all the time.

    it’s interesting to me that altho i dont know the answer to the “what makes a ku a ku?” question (because really every rule/guideline that i know of – and even the ones i value a lot – can be broken and still i’ll say it’s a ku and an awesome ku too) – still it’s interesting to me that i look at another writer’s ku through my own eyes in exploring them both as ku – and as the writing of ku (as in, is it ku?) – it’s interesting to me to see what other writers value and look for, and like to have happen, when they write their ku. and of course i could probably ask that question of the same writer every year and the answer(s) would evolve and change every year… at least i think they probably would… because i know mine do.

    fun on snow. and fun on first snow.

    first snow
    pillow fight feather

    quick into boots
    this slip slide into fun
    on first snow

    a rain check
    raking leaves replaced
    with first snow

    • Thanks, Rick, for your thought-provoking comments. Like you, I’m full of questions. And the more I read about haiku, the more up in the air I am about it. For example, the idea of not using simile/metaphor is a hard one for me. Does that mean that you can’t use them ever? And recently I was reading a comment by William Higginson, who recommends not using pariticiples but rather organizing the lines in a more grammatically correct (ala sentence-like) and less fragmented fashion. I’ll just have to keep studying and, hopefully, honing what I do. But then, perhaps, maybe it becomes something else? Something not exactly haiku? I don’t know . . .

      I do know this–of your ku, I like the third one best. It seems to me to be the one closest to your heart and your experience. It also, coincidentally, is the one that reads more like a sentence . . . I like the second one, too, but, for me, the first one seems almost too fragmented. Okay, that’s just me. So what do I know? Not much. Just struggling along. I’m glad, though, to have this forum, and the insights of friends like you. Ku-on, Wrick!

      • aloha Margaret – yeah, the funny thing about rules or guidelines or how-to-do-it regarding haiku is that if you start compiling all of these rules etc. that you can find, you begin to notice that some rules (etc.) are exactly opposite of each other – and – in some case when they are not opposite, you cant follow one rule without breaking another – and – it is impossible to follow all the rules in any one ku as well.

        so, yeah, bwahahahaha – it is confusing. or… we can pay attention to the rules (etc.) that make the most sense to us and alter/explore/add/drop them when we choose to do so. which is why when ever i point out some rule… i notice i often immediately start breaking it in my own ku. sheesh.

        are we not curious and extraordinary creatures of the ridiculous world of our own creation? …not to mention immensely comical too? ha.

        yeah, i agree about the fist ku of mine above. i had revised it several times and then ran out of time (these were all done on the wing in response to your blog entry) and decided to just go with it the way it originally tumbled out. with a little time now i can see tweaking it significantly might help a lot.

        the 2nd ku is from experiences i remember as a kid. …or when i was at least littler. i had spent 2 years wearing the tread off my rubber boots so i could have great running slides in them – 30-40 feet or more sometimes (i’d just count in my head but i dont know how far that really was or if it was even seconds i was counting…). the boots were still in great shape other than the tread when my mom noticed the tread and bought me new ones, giving the old ones to a neighbor who didnt have any. i was miffed. there he went having a blast in my old boots and i couldnt slide a creeping inch in my new ones. and he wouldnt even trade for the new ones! well, he did actually, but the mom’s made us trade back. yeah, kids, i know. sheesh. i knew what i was doing by then tho and it only took me half the season to get my new boots broken in. . . or… more exactly… treaded off.

        yeah. the last ku has happened a time or two as well i suspect, but i actually just think it probably has because i dont have such a clear memory of it as i do with the boots.

        yeah. ku-on. however we do it. aloha

        • Maloha, Wrick. The thing I like so much about your ku is how effortless they appear and how the strength of your personality and wit comes through in the writing. Like I said before, I just don’t know about all the rules . . . Some of the best (Eng. Lang.) haiku I’ve read so far has more to do with the essence than the form, but, interestingly, many of the haiku I admire (Richard Wright’s, for example) are written within the constraints of a fairly strict syllable count (oh yeah, 5/7/5). And I’m not saying that is the way, but it is one way that works, obviously, for Wright and others. So when people turn up their noses at that (and I know the reasons . . . all the onji notes, etc.), I have to ask why? Same thing with rhyming . . . it does work extremely well for some people’s ku (not necessarily mine). At any rate, what I’m trying to say here is that, perhaps, we should be more invested in our own aesthetic, whatever that might be. You definitely have one. It comes through loud and clear in your ku. And for that, my friend, I thank you.

  2. Van K. Brock says:

    A 12-year-old boy’s
    first snow–flakes almost as
    large as cotton bolls.

    • Thanks, Van. The image of cotton bolls reminds me of a haiku Richard Wright wrote . . . (I’m not sure why, just the mad word association of my mind, I suppose.) Anyway, here it is:

      In the falling snow
      A laughing boy holds out his palms
      Until they are white.

  3. alee9 says:

    I’m so honored by this post! Yes, I’ve read these haiku already posted in the haiku thread on Sketchbook. I love all three and as one feels when ‘love’ is invoked, I have no explanation. And may I share three of mine also for Sketchbook…

    first snow–
    the silence in the dance
    the rush to fall

    first snow fall–
    my scissor steps
    to meet you

    covered with first snow
    under my boot marks—
    gingko leaves

    Thank you again, Margaret!

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