pine trees
like jagged teeth
eat Willow Lake

—Shawn M. Davis

About the author: Shawn M. Davis is editor of Cenotaph Pocket Editions. She teaches flashfiction and haibun at Southern Oregon University. Her fiction has appeared in Poet's Canvas and Sugar Mule. Her haiku will appear in upcoming issues of Frogpond and bottle rockets.


Responses to the haiku for 26 June 2003 by Shawn M. Davis

    2003-06-28 15:46:24

    I am surprised to see both simile and metaphor in a haiku.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-28 23:24:19

    i could imagine this scene as being akin to "cloud watching"; better yet, i can see the image of the trees' jagged edges being reflected by the water, to create this imagery of a meal taking place.

    however, i am taken aback by mike's comment on simile and metaphor, he left me hanging in mid-thought. i wonder if he might be more expressive as to the why of "his surprise"...

    2003-06-29 17:39:25

    What is surprising is to see both simile and metaphor actually working in haiku. The reason they are not usually found in (good) haiku, is that they tend to draw away from the objective moment, towards the poet's subjective experience of it - i.e. telling rather than showing, if that's your terminology.

    In this case, I believe their judicious use enhances rather than obscures. It is refreshing to find a poet flouting this 'rule', while successfully achieving clarity, precision and focus.


    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-29 20:47:15

    i asked of mike the question, and norman answers.

    anything is possible, including the usage of simile and metaphor in a haiku; if the writer's skills are horned or if the writer simply gets lucky. the acceptance of this is shown by the above haiku being raved about by mike and no-less norman; i, too, enjoyed it, yet how many are ready to burn it for no other reason than it's going against the rule.

    this is what i have been trying to get across for these many weeks, don't follow the well-worned path, if anything be a pioneer. for every form of writing there can be exceptions as to how it is written.

    to be cont...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-29 20:50:28


    allow me to stray for a moment, exceptions to the rules merely point out when the rule doesn't apply, while undergoing the test.

    i never take the rules serious enough to yell blasphemy, when someone writes something different, be it good or bad. many great things would have been lost if people feared straying from the rules, then again, much has been lost for fear of straying from the rules.
    even if shawn had failed in her writing, someone else in reading it might become inspired to follow her attempts, and who knows where it is to lead.

    using parts of normans words, even tending to draw away from the objective moment, towards the poet's subjective experience of it - i.e. telling rather than showing, can be done successfully. i am reminded of a past commercial, "is it memorex or is it live".

    to be cont...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-29 20:52:54


    all too often people become arrogant while using past rules as the height of the bar, in addition to not realizing the self-proclaimed title of expert is an ill-fit...

    a frighten thought, norman are you mike in disguise... and if not, i wonder if mike is in agreement with you...

    paul m.
    2003-06-30 10:32:23

    Any genuine moment of perception is lost in this overly-clever poetic styling. All that is left is a cartoonish scene. Clever: yes. Insightful: no. There is a reason for warnings against such personifications in haiku. Bob is correct when he says that we shouldn't blindly follow these "rules" (traditions in haiku), but he is wrong to dismiss them without bothering to understand their usefulness. Here they would have been better heeded.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-30 19:45:31

    i think some are reading more in my words than is there, however they fail to read what i am saying.
    should one be expressive in totality of what one's knowledge is.

    i was pleasantly surprised by paul m.'s comment to say the least, especially by his being initially in agreement, then he fell by the wayside with his: "he is wrong to dismiss them without bothering to understand their usefulness. here they would have been better heeded." i pondered paul concluding my dismissal, in addition to my failing to understand their usefulness; did he fail to explain his, "here they would have been better heeded".

    to be cont.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-30 19:48:36


    one should first understand if there is a moment in time that impresses upon the writer something that may or may not be real, rather one's imagination, most definitely can be considered a haiku moment, and once again in paul words, "if the writer is overly clever", in my opinion, to capture the scene.
    cartoonish scene, it may appear, but haven't we all had one of these moments, too.
    i can recall my walking in the outback, and having a snake crawl between my legs and brushed it, not needing to look down, i swear i jumped four feet into the air, and proceeded to run without my feet touching the ground.
    cartoonish indeed, if only within my mind, yet you get the picture.

    i think paul m.'s comment would have been better served if he had simply mention this piece was lost upon him.

    i guess he did in so many words.

    one man's opinion, true, but allow it to be yours, while not trying to force feed it upon others...

    C. Todd
    2003-07-01 09:17:15

    Haiku isn't about the “totality” of knowledge. Whatever that is.

    Paul is absolutely right here. Overly poetic metaphors get in the way. They are too far removed from the immediacy of the moment to work. Instead of drawing the reader into the image, poems like this come across as imaginative constructs. They seem to shout at the reader. Instead of leaving the reader to his own discovery, metaphoric haiku act like traffic cops who are more interested in performing than they are in traffic that flows freely.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-07-01 14:02:17

    "Haiku isn't about the "totality" of knowledge. Whatever that is."

    well, c. todd welcome to the discussion. the above statement, accredited to me, was not about the haiku, instead it was in reference to some questioning my knowledge on the haiku and it's "rules", and anything in general, for that matter.

    "totality of knowledge", first, was the term i selected when others questioned what i knew...

    the best explanation, "i made it up".

    c. todd are you following me thus far.

    totality: entirety

    knowledge: acquaintance with facts, principles, or truths, from study or investigation...i could go on, but i won't.

    c. todd, i trust you can combine the two, to understand my usage.

    definitely to be cont...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-07-01 14:09:33

    here i go again...

    hmmm, in reading your comments, c.todd, are you aware there are no "absolutes" in "LIFE", i.e. pure, perfect, unconditional, self-existent; excuse me, there is ONE, but i think religion is better discussed later.

    unless, one's bar is well stocked with the vodka.

    further, c. todd there were a few important omissions from "your" comments, being the elaboration that these are "your opinions", just as mine are mine.
    i am not even sure paul would be in "total" agreement with you.

    "immediacy", interesting word, c. todd, am i to assume your usage being "instantaneous". once again, or even along with my other understandings, what is instant, is imperceptible, or should i think of the moment the camera clicked, however doesn't the mind continue the moment or even recreate the moment, often times in different versions.

    not finished, yet...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-07-01 14:13:59

    moving along...

    c. todd, if you have read the haiku to any degree, you should understand such is "never" the case, this "immediacy". i somehow picture it, the haiku, being rather laid back, most times.

    c. todd, i cringe when i hear or see the word "work" in reference to literature; of which should never be a laboring, that is exactly how it will come across, a labor. the thought reminds me of an oxymoron, "labor of love".

    "instead of drawing the reader into the image, poems like this come across as imaginative constructs"; todd todd todd, are they not both one and the same. any form of communications has to draw the audience into the image, this being "imaginative constructs", but then again, there is the hint of the "abstract" to your words.

    todd, even the most boring of literature conjures up some form of image.

    c. todd, might i ask, what is "overly poetic metaphor", and what are it's faults; be careful how you answer this.

    almost there...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-07-01 14:16:27


    c. todd, at times there is a need to shout.

    c. todd, in all performances, from the written word to the stage, one is being led, however at times more subtle than others.

    when one searches out one's own discoveries, this can be seen in several ways; to understand what the writer has cunningly presented, making it, to some, difficult to comprehend, as in my words seemingly...

    and in closing, as the traffic flows freely, hasn't the traffic cop done his act; for all the world's a stage...

    i wonder, if shawn knew this would come from her "work"...

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2003-12-18 02:52:22

    temple dance
    the canglelight
    joins in fun

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-25 15:35:49

    dawn, my jog
    rooster crows ...
    laboriously, yet deliberately