I am terrible with numbers.
I live with a dear husband who thinks in math. He understands spaces. He reads maps. He’s quite logical. While I wander—sometimes blithely and pretty much always blindly—through the world, he navigates. The kids (at least the three old enough to show their numbers acumen and spatial reasoning) are facile in these ways, too. It’s simply mystifying to me.
And while my hubby is a great editor—that logical mind, bolstered by a proper English education—he’s generally a reluctant writer, except, except when it comes to haiku. He’s a master. Witty, funny and fast, he doesn’t so much count syllables as channel haiku on command. I find his haiku skills nothing short of mind-boggling.
Although I’m the writer in the marriage, I ceded haiku. I liked it greatly, and always enjoyed it wherever I found it—say, Brain Child Magazine when readers periodically send in mamaku (haiku about motherhood) or reading from a very funny book, Haikus for Jews or just listening to Hosea’s recitations—I just didn’t try to write any.
Until, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why, Facebook. Something about those brief status updates got my haiku mojo going. We dove into Facebook—dear hub and I—around the election. Anxiety contributed to my haiku addiction (because, it really was, for a while, bordering on addiction, and I was, for a while, a mad haiku writer—or is it haikuist?). But however, it went, the election—and anxiety over the possibility that McCain/Palin would become prez and veep—fueled a fierce spate of haiku, some humorous, some hopeful, and some wistful.
Here are a few of those election season haiku:
She's, "Drill, baby, drill"/May Palin accessorize/Til the moose come home.
To support McCain/In my bluer than blue town/Must feel lonely.
Broken by despair/Hope is the thing with feathers/Soar, my country, soar.
Moment of stillness/For the proudest grandmother–/Believed in the dream.
Our biracial girl/Born to dreams Super Tuesday/May she know no bounds.
Oh, and some spoke to fuzzy math:
Election countdown/Juggernaut notwithstanding/I don't trust my math.
Ahead in the polls/Confidence still seems naive/Two thousand, plus four.
My haiku outpouring was met by appreciation (a few groans) and a lot of haiku in kind, little spates of dueling haiku or links to haiku sites. One friend told me about a board book (which I promptly acquired for Saskia’s first birthday), Haiku Baby. I have continued to write haiku, not limited to politics, but about, you know, life.
Here are a few of those:
Almost see the wind/Thick clouds move, trees sway, flag flaps/Early, light lifts up.
Tired babies like/Cranky thirteen-year olds de-/Mand so much patience.
When my friend Ruth first/Fell for Rex, she caught his cold. Deemed: Best cold ever.
Respectfully, if/Peace is the goal, war experts/Cannot do the trick.
Forever middle/This child of mine always wants/More, better, me, now.
What I smelled today:/Warm apples and cinnamon/bread, promise of snow.
Whoops. Saskia dialed/911. Emergency?/Eleven-month-old.
Hell hath no fury/Like, "How dare you clean my room?"/My son just loves dust.
What’s transpired is that seventeen syllables can soothe my racing mind. I walk around thinking up haiku I don’t write down. There’s something extremely satisfying about meting out a truth, a fragment of life, or a funny moment so concisely. After all these months, I still amuse Hosea because haiku has become no more seamless to me.
To compose haiku/My fingers are required/Count: five-seven-five.