Paris Haiku—The Garden

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Gardens are wondrous places—and in honor of this week’s Gardens of Paris tour, I’m sharing Ruth Yarrow’s elegant garden haiku.

Using 6 words, arranged judiciously, Yarrow evokes green spaces as settings for celebration and sociability, as well as solitude and quiet.

 

after the garden party           the garden

 

I love the surprise in this haiku, as well as its minimalism.

I was curious about where a prompt of “after the…” might lead a poem. One result was my haiku, After the Louvre.

What’s your favorite garden haiku? Please share it here!

Meanwhile, I’m collecting lots of Paris impressions, and will return to the US—and to Paris haiku—next week.

Photo credit: Charlotte Albers

Paris Haiku—Riding the Bus

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Today another “this could have been written in Paris but wasn’t” haiku, by Australian poet Janice Bostok.

 

stationary bus
talking we visit places
within each other

 

I love taking the bus in Paris, and use the system more and more to get around the city with friends and clients. It’s a pleasure to see the neighborhoods we pass through.

My favorite lines are the 91 and the 69, the 91 because it was the first line I learned, the 69 because of its interesting, cross-city route.

Each bus begins its journey with a few minutes of quiet rumbling.

Riders get on, settle in, friends lean toward each other and talk in low voices. We focus on the world inside the bus until it begins to move.

And what a rich world it is! I’m grateful to Bostok for her sensitivity to the potential in these moments of waiting, to the trip within the trip.

She turns the image of travel inside-out in this haiku.

Where do you ride the bus?

Paris Haiku—The Water Lilies

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Tomorrow I leave for 3 weeks in Paris. One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing again are Monet’s water lilies—both at his home, Giverny, and on his spectacular canvases at Musée de l’Orangerie.

Monet’s water lilies, Les Nymphéas, are marvels from afar; and abstract wonders up close.

The huge horizonless canvases, without edges of water or sky as reference points, immerse viewers in the pond. With that in mind, here is my haiku ode to them.

 

Water lilies drift,

white-capped, synchronized swimmers

learning new routines

 

Have you been to Giverny? to l’Orangerie? What were your impressions?

Paris Haiku Friday—After the Louvre

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With a nod to a post earlier this week about navigating the Louvre with children, today’s haiku speaks to the effect that this wonderful and huge museum has on me.

When I go to the Louvre, I follow the advice I give to my clients: choose one wing or movement, and pretend the rest is across town. This approach keeps me from getting lost, and allows me to dive deeply into a time or place in art history.

The combination of limiting my options while still partaking of immense cultural richness leaves me feeling both tired and wanting more.

After the Louvre
a bracing cup of black tea
a dozen macarons.

 Do you have a Louvre (or another Paris) poem? Please leave it here for us to enjoy!

Paris via Poetry — Announcing Haiku Fridays

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I love Paris because she takes me by surprise. She gets me thinking. She wakes me up. She moves me. Even in her most ordinary moments, Paris is sublime.

How to capture those moments, those fleeting insights? Photographs can help… journals, too… But haiku does it best.

Haiku are short, often 3 line poems that look closely at everyday objects. They use precise images, traditionally drawing on the natural world, to express an emotion or a mood.

At the heart of every haiku is a surprise, an insight, a revelation, a “pop”!

A single moment has changed the way the writer sees the world, and when we read the poem, our perspective shifts, too. Isn’t this why we travel?

Announcing Haiku Fridays — weekly glimpses of Paris via poetry, and a great way to keep your Paris experiences alive.

On Fridays, I’ll share a favorite Paris haiku. I welcome your company, your thoughts, and your favorite haiku.

This week, the poem that put Paris on the haiku map: Ezra Pound’s famous “Metro” poem.

While Pound’s verses don’t adhere to the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count, they’re haiku-like in other ways. Three lines paint a vivid picture. They compare two things, one man-made, the other natural, by setting them side-by-side.

The connection is startling, and full of sensory impressions. After riding the Metro hundreds of times, the reader sees its arrival in a new way. I love Pound’s imagination, his precision. And you?

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
— Ezra Pound, 1916

Next week, I’ll introduce you to a present-day Parisian haikuiste.

In the meantime, if you have a Paris haiku, post it here!

To read Pound’s own words about his poem, click here.

A vendredi prochain! See you next Friday!