moonlight in vermont
haiku in the sycamores
moonlight in vermont

—Eva Yaa Asantewaa

About the author: Eva Yaa Asantewaa is a freelance journalist, dance critic, poet, psychic counselor, and community educator in New York City.

Responses to the haiku for 16 September 2003 by Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Craig McLanachan (cramar at actrix dot co dot nz)
    2003-09-17 01:13:02

    Took me a while to come to terms with this but I like it even though it seems to break the rules. Through the poetry of Hayden Carruth I have come to know the seasons of Vermont. This haiku captures something of the same magnificence and subtle power inspired by a close affinity with nature.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 06:30:37

    ahhhhh yes, craig, (hayden carruth), i can imagine in his writings, his looking back to authors of yesteryear. my being somewhat of a musician, i love the influence of jazz and blues ; especially "scrambled eggs & whiskey"; as the saying goes, "been there, done that".

    "ray", what about ray and his goddamn pie.
    so descriptive, so alive, so remorseful, could it be symbolic of you, or even (i)me.
    hayden's work reminds me of how the haiku should be, so descriptive; not the sterile work that comes our way, so often today.


    however, back to the matters at hand


    i admire your piece, as craig said, your "breaking of the rules".

    (however), as i weighed your words, you left too much for me to deal with, on my own.

    let us not do this-
    while walking through the scented pines
    let's not do this

    eva, an effort in humor, on my part, i must make more of my time to read up on you, very talented lady.

    2003-09-17 06:52:55

    Thanks, guys! Loved your comments (and Bob's new haiku.) It was the rhythm of that song that got me. I heard it one day and thought: Haiku!!! This stunned me, since I'd heard that song since childhood. Suddenly, it was like hearing it anew.

    Eva :-)

    Todd Claus (todd dot claus at us dot army dot mil)
    2003-09-17 08:21:02

    Does the moon cast a different light in Vermont than it does in New York or Indiana or Ontario or anywhere else? If it doesn't, the first and third lines are meaningless. If it does, the first and third lines don't tell the reader any anything. They aren't descriptive and they don't contain any information that can help the reader in any way. It's like saying, cotton candy in Michigan.

    And I may be alone in this, but what's a sycamore look like? I know it's a deciduous tree, but for all I know it looks like a Maple or maybe a Ginko or eveen a Dogwood. And what does a haiku look like in a tree? It's probably a metaphor, but for what?

    Except for the 5-7-5 form the poem doesn't follow any of the rules, or even the non-rules, of english language haiku. In order to break the rules, don't you need to know the rules?

    paul m.
    2003-09-17 13:10:28

    Very poetic, but I also don't think it is a haiku.

    Eva Yaa Asantewaa
    2003-09-17 13:47:01

    Hey, everybody! Lighten up! Would it help if I told you that it was inspired by a song with the same lyrics? (Nothing heavier than that, or more
    ***ambitious***) Then would it help if I told you that you were free to ignore it if you like?
    Okay, soldiers! As you were! :-)

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 14:42:17

    smile eva, welcome to tinywords, which somehow grow into large postings; i, for one should know.

    todd, i am reminded of someone being appalled at my mentioning, i had never seen the cicada, knowingly; albeit, i'd heard it a thousand times

    todd, yes, one can break the rules, unknowing of the rules.
    there is a saying, todd, by Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College," which ends with the words, "where ignorance is bliss/'tis folly to be wise."; however, i don't think along this line.

    meaningless: that which is not understood by another, conceivably

    this does not insinuate there is not value within, simply stated, "at times, one fails to understand": bob richardson.


    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 14:43:48


    "I also don't think it is a haiku.", indecisive words, paul

    paul would you say, "(maybe) it is a haiku"

    as for the rules on what's a haiku, don't be brainwashed into accepting what the (elite) of today, define as such, is one.

    i read dft's earliest submissions(2000-11-02), i feel it is a classic.

    so many of today's (haiku) are sterile, never giving birth to anything significant; the more descriptive, i say go for it

    who follows
    who leads

    were you talking to me-
    there i go

    2003-09-17 15:01:29

    I really like the repeated lines. I experienced each one differently. The first called to memory the song. After reading the middle line, the last line held much more than the song ... it held me beneath those trees and that night ...

    paul m.
    2003-09-17 15:36:24

    Hi bob,

    I am open to a very wide range of styles in haiku, but I cannot in any way see how this could be one of them. I am curious how you see it as one--meaning define the form and tell me how this fits into it. It is a pretty picture and open to interpretation, but so is any other free verse poem, yet we don't call just any free verse poem a haiku. Do we?

    Todd Claus (todd dot claus at us dot army dot mil)
    2003-09-17 15:52:37

    Knowing where the idea for the poem originated doesn't make the poem any better, if that's what you mean by help, Eva.

    In order for the poem to work (in order for the poem to evoke the emotional response in the reader that the author wanted) the reader is required to make certain imaginative associations that may or may not exist outside the imagination of either the reader or the writer. Whatever that is, it's not haiku or senryu.

    I'm sorry I can't be more positive, but this isn't about you anymore than it is about any person. It's about the work. But, if what you're after is undeserved compliments, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige.

    bob richardson (orgob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 17:49:36

    gene, a wide variety does not indicate "all there are".

    "curiosity", gene, i am not here to teach, only to get a deeper understanding from the art form called haiku.

    the majority of accepted "forms", to list, would be self-defeating; this same argument was addressed to the masters, when they veered.

    gene, no slighting intended, however, the path i venture, i find few other travelers. i see things as few others can imagine. i can take the (pro) or the (con) to my own (whimsical) appetite; by the way, i suggest you might research this word, (whimsical), to get the full meaning or rather diverse understanding it proposes.

    gene, "defining" does not a haiku make. what comes to mind, or what i feel closest defines any haiku is the slight of hand, in this case the slight of the pen in hand.

    more ...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 17:52:16


    before continuing, gene, two questions for you, have you read dft's first submitted haiku; secondly, what do (you) think, concerning it.

    gene, over the course of this conversing, i will address your initial question, concerning eva's haiku.

    was it t.s. eliot who said, "no verse is free for the man/woman who wants to do a good job"

    gene, your question, "do we", in reference to "any" free verse being called haiku; gene in my opinion, yes we can. in your issuance of the term "free verse", you realize you have opened a can of worms.

    gene, i trust you will stay with me for the next few days as we consider your question. i would take this private, gene, however i feel this discussion is for the good of tinywords, unless dft instructs me otherwise. i'll try to exhibit some brevity in certain areas.

    to be cont...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-17 18:02:00

    todd, really, why are you being rude to eva.
    of the things you suggest of me, you now magnify to extremes.

    however, tomorrow, your turn comes again.

    say cheese-
    squeaky chair we all have sat upon
    we now reminisce

    todd, research the platonic philosophical meaning of reminiscence

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:08:05

    good morning,
    some may wonder why it's been so quiet here, on the eastern front, the reason being, i have been conversing with paul and todd on the side(e-mail).

    todd has ask me NOT to talk to him, this i will honor, however i pondered why he addressed me again, figure that; by now he should know i reply to any and all, who seek my attention.

    hmmm, i wonder if he meant he didn't want me to talk (of) him.

    time has a way of showing the inner working of any individual's TRUE motives, and here is certainly NOT an exception to that (RULE), regardless of the camouflage.

    paul and i have being APPRECIATING a sincere conversing and exchanges, while illustrating mutual respect.

    paul desired to keep his side of the communications private, however i pointed out to him, my comments at some point would return to tinywords, not only did we start here, hopefully this discussion will end here, for the moment.

    my next comment will be my response to paul's inquiries.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:23:28

    paul, I am not willing to debate haiku with you until the proverbial cows come home; however, I will send tinywords the outcome of my definitive moment with you; as i said in one of my comments, i would continue until dft says otherwise.

    i will treat this as though you know nothing about haiku.

    eva's (haiku):
    moonlight in vermont
    haiku in the sycamores
    moonlight in vermont

    i will try to avoid the technical jargon, because this merely adds to the confusion

    part II-
    on the horizon

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:26:19

    part II-

    (what is haiku or what is a haiku)

    paul, i am reminded of jane r.'s response to this, "Do I want to accept this poem as an example of haiku for myself?" in addition to, "I am totally for discussion, but when anyone assumes the authority to say "what haiku is(or isn't)", I feel the discussion has ended and turned into something quite different. " jane continues by saying, " The necessity of our asking ourselves this question becomes weightier when we each realize that we are responsible for what haiku IS; and what it is becoming. By our writing, we are defining the form. By our changes in the form it is being changed. If the style of current haiku seems to be going in a direction which is not compatible with yours, then you have an even greater *load* of responsibility to make sure people see the finest work you can do in your style".

    on the horizon...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:33:48

    on the horizon...

    (as i have mentioned, if you write it someone will read it. you'd be surprise, some will even emulate your style.)

    most say a haiku is a traditional japanese poem
    a haiku is true to reality, the author's first (impression) is of the utmost importance, presenting the subject just as it were.

    haiku are written under different rules and different languages which adds to the (debate) on (what is).

    haiku(haikus) can be written about almost anything. it is written in a true-to-life effect created by specific treatment of the idiosyncrasies of a particular locale or time.
    the haiku is kept to the simple rather than the complex, so the normal(i hate using this word) can understand and recognize. it describes a daily situations in a way that gives the reader/listener a brand new experience of a common situation/experience.


    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:39:01


    let us examine eva's first line
    "moonlight in vermont"

    if you read this line by itself, it causes a stirring of emotions, if you are familiar with the moonlight in vermont, (just as i imagine, you have conceivably heard of the moon over miami).

    i can imagine the moonlight being different over most locales, can you.

    too often the subject matter may be foreign to the reader, however that is unavoidable.

    the first verse(hokku) was and is the starting link of the two remaining verses
    (eva's haiku qualifies)

    the hokku, often times set the tone
    for the remaining verses(the haika)
    i like to say, "set the stage"
    (eva's haiku qualifies)

    a haiku is a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and the inclusion of a seasonal(sometimes) (eva's haiku qualifies under this presumption)

    and more...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:42:45

    and more...

    you may ponder where is the seasonal; in the sycamores; often times the seasonal is not obvious.

    what season, you may ask again, i respond by saying, take your pick. i enjoy eva's concept of allowing you to decide, because the writing of a haiku is a year round event.

    juxtapose, here again, eva, does well. what a great way to contrast: we definitely have a cutting here, though we lack a colon, long dash or ellipsis.

    paul, do these two first lines remain independent of each other, yet they enhance each other.
    "moonlight in vermont
    haiku in the sycamores"

    can't you imagine how the masters, or anyone, as they walked through the trees, spewed forth a haiku.

    now, eva's third line, here i would have placed quotation marks, to exemplify a line from the haiku being written, or recited. what a surprise. AHA

    almost cigarette time...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 09:55:54

    first, an apology to eva, "please, think not unkind thoughts of tinywords", inevitably, all is made up of that which exists within, here, being no different. your addition, can only strengthen what, i am assuming, were dft's intentions; providing a (consummate) meeting place for the artists, regardless of the participants varied opinions.

    an apology to dft, if once again, i have overstepped the boundaries, however i appreciate your allowing my indulgence.


    paul, something i have noticed of late, many may write a haiku, but many writers don't realize the depth of their words.
    paul, need i say more
    or does my remake clear the air for you:

    moonlight in vermont-
    haiku in the sycamores
    "moonlight in vermont..."

    paul, a question, what do you think of this haiku, below:

    digging out

    paul, i do feel genuine sincerity in your words.

    just me

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-19 21:56:29

    for those who are wondering about the haiku,

    digging out

    was written by jane reichhold

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-20 09:24:34

    almost (forgetting) paul's response:

    "The poem:

    digging out

    suffers from the same abstraction problem, unless I am to assume the poet is digging out actual sheets of poems which got buried. This confusion is needless."

    and my response to paul, while thinking paul's response was indicative of the pages being buried in "the snow" :

    allow me to try explaining what jane is so simply saying, in her eloquent way.

    when one is snowbound, not being able to do anything out of doors, one, at some point, has to "dig out", HOWEVER if one can't, why not take the time and open up a book or writing on haiku, and indulge in reading your troubles away; snowbound even meaning troubles

    oh well, we all have our varied opinions, serving whatever purpose, thought to be...

    pondering if the quotation marks were apprehended, and not leaning in the direction of the meaning of (apprehension)

    Margot (hominoid1 at aol dot com)
    2003-10-06 16:28:09

    actually this haiku is the first verse from a very famous song, only it really goes:

    pennies in a stream
    falling leaves of sycamore
    moonlight in vermont

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-10-06 18:19:02

    me think, margot overlooked eva's response, as of 2003-09-17 -----13:47:01

    john tiong chunghoo
    2003-12-29 04:20:39

    forgotten again
    the inspired haiku
    i failed to write down

    Narayanan Raghunathan (mahashishta at hotmail dot com)
    2004-01-20 14:42:33

    Amusing discussion on undefinable Haiku!

    all white earth
    all white sky engulfs ~
    all white white ~

    midnight rhapsody
    snowscape splashing
    moonlight in breeze ~

    vast empty night
    vast empty mind
    vast empty Haiku ~

    ed markowski (1elmarko at comcast dot net)
    2004-01-21 20:39:48

    cage symposium
    the speaker's voice
    out of silence into silence

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-07-18 20:37:19

    "moon over miami"
    swaying green palms ..
    full moon over miami