and recounting his pennies
outside the butcher's

—Norman Darlington

Previously published on I-ku Haiku.

About the author: Norman Darlington lives in rural Ireland surrounded by the sights and smells that provide constant inspiration for his work. He has been published, on- and off-line, on three continents.

It is the philosophy and art of Taneda Santoka, his marrying of the spiritual with the earthy and mundane, and his total identity of life and art, which form the single most important influence on Norman's work. You can see some of his photo-haiga at Norman’s haiga

Responses to the haiku for 19 February 2003 by Norman Darlington

    2003-03-06 19:18:17

    I submitted this haiku to tinywords with the title 'Old Man', but dylan didn't want a title...
    The experience was mine (middle-aged man), during a lean week hungering after saturated fat

    Craig McLanachan (cramar at actrix dot co dot nz)
    2003-03-07 03:13:21

    Huge sympathy for the carnivore but haiku may gain better flow by 'Counting and recounting' as 1st line? Maybe it reads better? I think it may be called 'musicality'or 'beats'.

    2003-03-07 08:25:09

    Alright, interesting point Craig.
    I tend to read haiku as a step-by-step uncovering of a picture (or even a little drama, if you'll allow), with each line a separate step.
    If I were to remake this, as you suggest:

    Counting and recounting
    his pennies
    outside the butcher's

    I feel the guts of the story would have already been told in the first line, leaving the rest (and thus the entire effect) rather flat. I also feel that
    "Counting and recounting"
    skips right past the opening scene, where the old man is first counting his money without any idea he won't have enough.

    I know all this is highly subjective, but my main thrust is that, although I am not discounting your point about (musical) flow, ultimately it is the flow of ideas, and pacing of same, that is most important to me in haiku.

    To take a more extreme example, in Dead Pig:

    Dead pig rolling in
    on voodoo beach
    - and out

    I suppose the musical flow is somewhat askew, but reordering to:

    Dead pig rolling
    in and out
    on voodoo beach

    degrades a moving picture almost to a still photo. I hope you see my point.
    Thank you for your comments Craig.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-03-11 00:09:09

    in looking back, i saw an author i recognized.
    curiosity being stirred up, i decided his work merit reading.

    3 lines...
    possibly 17 syllables...
    "then what", comes to mind...

    i realized long ago, i love a bad haiku, probably more so than a good haiku.
    bad, not that it isn't thought provoking, but just the opposite. an inner voice calls out, "hang around just a little longer, and discuss with one's soul, what is really going on".
    then, what took a moment to read, was transpired into scenes, reminiscence of different endings for a movie, if defective due to lack of full development.
    to make a long comment longer, upon reading the haiku being discussed, i was intrigued by the first two lines.
    brevity has it's merit in haiku. yet, a total picture should be presented, not saying a full blown story, but a completed scene, and not having a single question to arise.
    reading norman's work, i was left wondering, which was good, at least for me, for then i began to explore the possibilities, and to me some fulfillment.

    at times a thing of beauty is consummated or ravished from an extra word, remembering one has 17 syllables to work with.
    i experienced the beginning, "counting and recounting". a man counting his pennies, merely heighten the experience, but then outside the butcher's shop left me wondering, needless to say the flow was interrupted, left in a deserving place was a quagmire, or as commonly stated, "it left me hanging".
    somewhere, i read the word "remake", but only a suggestion, brought forth by discussion, and this is what sprung forth:

    "butcher's shop...
    counting, recounting pennies
    stomach breaks in"

    john tiong chunghoo
    2004-02-03 09:17:43

    business rounds
    the cabby counts his takings
    on the steering wheel

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-03 20:53:33

    first one pocket
    then another --
    an empty hand


    Vasile Moldovan (vasilemoldovan at yahoo dot com)
    2005-08-28 13:06:47

    In the cadger's hand
    only some pennies:
    the autumn's leaves

    Julie George (juliegeo at verizon dot net)
    2008-04-19 19:03:31

    heaven's pennies
    sag the pocket
    worthless as hell

    2009-01-16 16:04:30

    looking at the handout
    just a moment ago--
    stomach rumbles