Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16: Poets of the Week, Buson, Two Haiku, "Ives" Dip, Off the Top of My Head

For the first time, I have decided to award Poet of the Week to three writers.  Three masters of haiku--Basho, Buson, and Issa.

I have never been able to write a successful haiku, but I have always admired them.  The concentration of image.  The surprise of the final line.  There's so much possibility for humor and beauty.  Making the ordinary extraordinary.  Buson does all of that.

Two Haiku

by:  Buson

     His Holiness the Abbott
is shitting
     in the withered fields.

     Cover my head
or my feet?
     the winter quilt.

See what I mean?  When I came across that first one, I literally laughed out loud in my office at the university.  A grad student was walking by my door at the time and did a double take.  That's alright.  I'm already known as the guy who plays Christmas music all year long, so I'm just five cats away from being the English Department's certifiable eccentric.

Speaking of the English Department, tomorrow morning I have a guest coming to my Good Books class to do my annual evaluation.  Now, I've recently learned that I have been teaching for 46 semesters at the university as a contingent professor.  Doing the math, that is exactly 23 years of teaching.  I shouldn't get nervous about classroom observations any more.  Yet, my inner Catholic schoolboy always gets the best of me, and I spend a few weeks being anxious and guilty.

So, my question for this evening's Ives dip is:

Will my classroom observation go well tomorrow morning?

And the answer from Oscar Hijuelos is:

As they happily walked to the subway, they were looking forward to spending a lot of time together at home during the holiday, in the company of family and friends.  Ives and Annie stopped to peer into a window display of French linen when, just like that, a terrible darkness entered them, and they could not move and stood looking at one another stupidly, on the crowded and busy sidewalk.

Okay, the first half of that passage points toward a really good evaluation.  However, the second half is a little Stephen Kingish in feeling and tone.  So, either everything's going to go great tomorrow morning, or I'm going to be attacked by a rabid Saint Bernard on the way to class.

Saint Marty isn't sure which answer he prefers.

Off the Top of My Head


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