Monday, March 4, 2013

A Room of My Own: Winter Thoughts

for Mary Oliver

rejection slip
a sunflower bending
to the wind

I often get editorial advice like this:

"You will notice that we veer away from authorial comment, abstract language, and the imposition of human qualities on the natural world. Instead, we choose haiku that achieve resonance through the juxtaposition of disparate images, credibly present in the same place at the same time."

Slanting sunlight through the attic window on my coffee-stained desk. Reading Basho's death poem, I can't help but wonder: if he were alive and submitted his poem under a different name, would he have been published at all?

Essential Basho
my name will be written
in water or marble


1 The following is one of my favorite haiku written by Basho:

across the road
from a field of sunflowers:
a sunflower

2 Historically speaking, Basho didn't write the formal death poem on his deathbed, but the following haiku, being his last poem recorded, is generally viewed as his poem of farewell.

sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors


  1. "Winter Thoughts" was written in response to “The Swan” in Winter Hours by Mary Oliver:

    "I want the poem to ask something, and, at its best moments, I want the question to remain unanswered. I want it to be clear that answering the question is the reader's part in an implicit author-reader pact." (p. 24)

  2. Scott:

    Thanks for your continued support of my blog.

    Look forward to reading your work.

    All the best,


  3. I've only just found you, and your haiku is so inspiration to a newbie like me.

  4. Maggie:

    Many thanks for your kind words.