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Robert Gaurnier
Poet

 


Beneath many stars
diners feast on sweet music
in Armory Square

This was one of those poems that didn’t need re-writing. It just fell into place.

It was the summer of 2005, and my wife, Phyllis, and I were at Jazz Fest, downtown. It was a beautiful, starry night, and we were over by Walton Street, by the Museum of Science and Technology. They had a big band playing jazz, and there were a lot of outdoor tables set up, and people were eating, and waiters and waitresses were almost skating back and forth with the food.

Phyllis and I had grabbed a sandwich earlier, but it was inside, not outside, and it was just a little something, not a meal. This was later, after most people had had the main meal, and they were into dessert mode. And I thought, I don’t need any dessert, because the music is so sweet.

A bronzed Columbus
in front of the Cathedral
found by stray pigeons

I enjoy sitting at Columbus Circle, especially in the summer. It’s a great place to observe life. One day I looked at Columbus and thought he sailed a long way to find this land only to be now found by pigeons. I don’t believe he “discovered” this land, but he was an explorer, and now pigeons were “exploring” him. There he was, standing tall and proud, being semi-abused by a city bird, which is quite common.

It really is a fairly simple observation on life and nature, and that’s the way I think most haiku and senryu should be. Keep it very simple and let the readers find their own depth.

above long shadows
brushing Columbus Circle
a church window shines

Western poetry, to me, can be fabricated but haiku needs to stem from an experience. My haiku are dated, thus the poems become very much like a diary.

This poem was written in early summer at Columbus Circle while I was sitting after a walk. I was struck by the difference between the cathedral’s high lit window and the moving shadows made by car headlights. The image conveyed to me the stability of the window versus the motion of the shadows, as well as high versus low and light versus dark. For me, it was a unique moment in time and another addition to my “diary."

around Clinton Square
flakes of falling snow dissolve
on Christmas tree lights

I’ve been writing haiku for about eight years. It makes me more aware of the small things that surround me, giving me a greater sense of appreciation. Haiku allows one to focus on the present and not dwell on the past or future, making it a great stress reliever.

The Clinton Square poem first states a place and then what was going on—flakes of snow falling. The poem gives a sense of purpose by suggesting how quickly the holiday passes, like snowflakes falling. Before you know it the beauty of the holiday is gone and we are into January.

 

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