winter funeral ~ 
a stray dog
joins the crowd 

—Narayanan Raghunathan

About the author: My fields of activity are Philosophy (Universal Religion, Mysticism), Mathematics (Transcendental Numbers, Infinite Continued Fractions, General Number Theory, Foundations of Mathematics), Poetry, Music (Indian Karnaatik and Dhrupad(Hindusthani), Musicology), Dance (Neo-Classical), Photography and Graphics, and Farming. I have published the following books 1] Kalki ~ The Last Coming 2] Scrap Bits from The Note-Books of a Lunatic 3] Infinite Flame Silences(Haiku) 4] Apocalyptic Rapture(Haiku~ With Amanda) 5] The Solitary Infinity: Obituary To Transfinity.

Contact: aum_raudrabrahmanarayanan at yahoo dot com


Responses to the haiku for 6 March 2007 by Narayanan Raghunathan

    Angelika Wienert
    2007-03-06 00:31:39

    an excellent haiku!

    2007-03-06 01:21:51

    Great Thanks Angelika! I am honoured you like the Haiku. I must mention in this context that the version of the Haiku i
    sumbmitted was

    winter funeral ~
    a stray dog too
    joins the crowd

    Dylan felt the "too" was superfluos. I felt it was necessary. I gave him my argumnents in favour of including the "too"! But Dylan has preferred his version! I feel my haiku looks a little truncated !

    kala ramesh
    2007-03-06 03:50:07

    Hi Narayanan,

    Nice to see you here!

    Good poem with a clear and vivid imagery!


    Andrea (andrea dot cecon at gmail dot com)
    2007-03-06 10:03:22

    amazing haiku... well done!

    Vasile Moldovan (vasilemoldovan at yahoo dot com)
    2007-03-06 10:53:11

    A very human haiku.

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-06 13:02:27

    red peonies
    white peonies
    stirred by the breeze--

    2007-03-06 13:22:10

    Very nice, Narayanan!
    A moment that lingers,
    and expands...

    2007-03-06 13:40:48

    Poignant yet subtle, sad but oddly comforting -- very nicely done.

    2007-03-06 15:18:24

    Like a scene from a Sajit Ray’s movie.

    2007-03-06 17:24:37

    _Without the -too- depth is added... this version drew me in.

    Mary Griffith
    2007-03-06 17:55:12

    I agree with Magyar - omitting the "too" allowed more wondering for me. For example, "Was it the deceased's dog?" Hmmm.

    2007-03-06 23:07:34

    winter funeral ~
    a stray dog too
    joins the crowd

    I included the "too" for various reasons ~
    First and foremost, the rhythm and cadence when read aloud. i feel this version sounds better than the truncated version!
    Secondly, there is a secondary kireji [ an eloquent pause ] manifesting after "too" in this version, which adds to the poetic ambience in my opinion [ contd~]

    Vasile Moldovan
    2007-03-07 11:08:11

    mourning bands...
    tears came
    to dog's eyes too

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-07 14:21:48

    i'm in agreement with you.
    too often one's words are lost upon others.
    why??? because they don't understand.
    those hearing my personal reading(baritone voice) tend to feel every word, thereby perceiving all the innuendoes.

    in "masterpieces" i've seen errors, but did i take out my chisel. no.
    i feel, "like it or dislike it, but leave it alone".

    Rita Odeh
    2007-03-07 22:05:52

    Beautiful haiku, Narayanan. I like it without the word(too)which is implied in the poem. Isn't this the charm of brevity.?!

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-08 05:56:23

    "charm of brevity", rita, i ponder. it is said of brevity, to be concise, terseness, or simply being brief.
    TOO many think this applies to the haiku. yes, there is a shortness of words, however i feel the words many chose are TOO brief in being descriptive to truly portray the haiku moment
    narayanan's "too" adds magic(charm). without too, one has created something sterile; lacking depth

    2007-03-08 07:19:53

    Now to the deeper meta-physic of the "vast moment" and its seamless implications. It is not a mere neo-realistic human observation of an [ignorant] dog joining the human crowd obtruding their solemn mood. It is a metaphysical dog perceiving a unique canine-cosmos ~ a divine being who intrinsically knows as a birthright more about human death than human beings themselves. [ Contd~] ~ AH! "too" !

    2007-03-08 07:24:03

    _One reader, one opinion; just think of the mathematical progression here. However, none of those -many opinions- discredit... your
    "stiring" haiku.
    _That which is written, is complemented by the discussion it creates.

    2007-03-08 08:35:33

    In india Dog is a mystical mythological being.

    a dog howls ~
    scent of death pervades
    the midnight stillness

    Dog's special howl is a traditional premonition of Death! This is to affirm that Dogs see Yama[The Lord Of Death] Please refer ~ [ Contd ~ ] Thank you friends . Special thanks to Bob. I will respond in detail soon

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-08 13:07:30

    magyar, what is being read is not the way it was originally written. open discussion is good; if the original work has been left intact.


    dft, might you change the haiku to it's original wording

    2007-03-08 16:06:07

    Fascinating discussion. In general, I believe an author's strong preferences should be respected, by author, editor, & readers. Here, unfortunately, though the author's explanations are interesting on several levels, the "too" does not convey such complexities & does feel clumsy & redundant. I much prefer the graceful & moving published version (sans "too").

    2007-03-08 16:46:11

    Infinite Gratitude Bob [Omnipresent on Tinywords] for your deep understanding.It is a case of "déjà vu". I expected that you would support my necessarily rigid stance and when it really happened i was honoured and i felt relieved.

    shmashaanam ~
    shvaano mahaa rishi:
    apratyaksham dattena saha
    [ Sanskrit ]

    crematorium ~
    dog the divine seer
    with the invisible Datta


    ed markowski
    2007-03-08 19:49:37

    the word "too" adds mystery for me.
    makes me wonder who (human & spirit)
    else has decided to mourn (or celebrate)
    this passing.

    spring equinox
    stray dogs lap the remains
    of a snowman

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-08 23:03:37

    Swamigalu! you honour me far beyond my worth.

    understand the haiku's essence and with a clean palate, savor Narayanan Raghunathan's haiku. "too", albeit short is a highly complex word, provides clarity. as narayanan points out, there's more than meets the eye; that many overlook

    and those professing enlightenment.


    wintry night in silence the red dog, the black dog too i see

    Rita Odeh
    2007-03-09 07:43:46

    Dear b. m. richardson,
    In my comment, I mentioned that the word (too) is implied in the poem, so it is redundant. This is charm of brevity.Isn't it?
    Dear Narayanan,
    in my society,too,people believe that dogs do see bad spirits.
    To T.Dylan,
    I prefer to publish the haiku as it is without any changes and let us write our feedback which can lead to discussions of which we all learn.

    Best, Rita

    Alan Summers
    2007-03-09 07:57:40

    This discussion is very rewarding: to have been privileged to read so much of Narayanan's point of view.

    Tinywords works as a spontaneous conduit, and in this case it has been particularly illuminating and rewarding.

    My many thanks to Narayanan, and the guest commentators.

    I love the haiku by the way! ;-)

    2007-03-09 08:04:21

    Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, the trinity in Hindu Puraanas[ ageless ancient lore] unite to become the Avatar of Dattaatreya. Four country dogs follow him and are supposed to be the personification of the four Vedas[ Word Seen] Rig, Yajur, Saama,& Atharva.

    [contd ~]

    2007-03-09 08:25:24

    Let's hope the author's discomfort about having allowed his work to be published in a "truncated" form (oh, how painful!) has been alleviated by the enlightening & rewarding discussion it has inspired, & by the appreciation & attention it has received in both forms.

    b. m. richardson
    2007-03-09 08:35:30

    rita, "in my comment" is redundant to "i mentioned". implication results from (effect there has to be a cause). i see no indication more than the words(a stray dog joins the crowd) plainly say. ah, the magic of "too".

    now, i can reflect on "charm": an utterance of words perchance; to fascinate even.
    i'd say no.
    if i were* at a loss for words would be "charm brevity"

    *false and improbable

    2007-03-09 08:49:43

    DattAterya ~ Just check

    There is something else too that occurs to me. This observation of the dog joining the human (funeral) crowd must have happened many times although perhaps not noted explictly ! The "too" brings an expectancy fullfillment of a similar event! Thank you Ed, Rita, Vasile, Alan and other friends who have commented here!

    d. f. tweney
    2007-03-09 11:25:06

    Rita and Narayanan -- tinywords is a magazine, not a workshop. That means the editors select what they believe are the best haiku and sometimes suggest changes to them. Also, it is my hope that the response feature will be used for haiku, not argument, with people posting their own haiku in reply, creating a sort of online renga, not a disputation. Usually this is the case. Today, not so much.

    2007-03-09 11:45:37

    Thank you Dylan ~

    Dear Vasile
    Thank you for this Haiku ~
    I think it may be slightly altered thus in my opinion ~

    mourning band ...
    tears came to
    the dog's eyes too

    My response ~

    winter twilight ~
    a stray silent dog
    weeps solitarily

    2007-03-09 13:51:48

    Terrific idea, responding mainly in haiku, creating renga. (I didn't realize that's what was wanted.) Let's try it! I'll do my best, but there will probably be a time lag between the inspirating haiku & my response, if any.


    brett brady (bcb at flex dot com)
    2007-03-10 03:52:26

    sooooo much nicer without the 2...

    two silences
    under one umbrella...
    tiny coffin

    2007-03-10 09:40:58

    I think a wonderful and interesting discussion has arisen out of the change suggested. There are a couple of fine response haiku too ~ notably Vasile's and bmr's. There wasn't so much a disputation as a spontaneous elucidation of a finer aspect of haiku, which readers of magazine don't usually get. I think tinywords got more than it bargained for.

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-10 17:42:41

    chilling light
    through bare branches
    a dove's coo
    "we're all students, and no one really knows how to write a haiku; we keep trying anyway". -jr

    with comments, responses, and seminars the haiku grows; not merely being imitated.
    discussions, one reason the haiku thrives; continually being discovered and rediscovered. sans debates, i fear singlemindedness; we know where this leads.

    brett brady
    2007-03-10 20:38:23

    one cricket
    deepening the silence
    between stars

    John P. Portelli
    2007-03-10 22:07:07

    Very powerful haiku. I prefer it with "too". For me, it adds a lot and it creates more possibilities (does a stray dog usually join a crowd?).

    ed markowski
    2007-03-11 08:25:06


    saw this three years ago. the poem was
    subsequently published in the senryu
    section of simply haiku. it seems a fitting
    companion piece to your fine haiku...

    funeral procession...
    the last car picks up
    a hitchhiker

    "too" or not, your poem is a resounding
    success. look at all the other "strays"
    who've joined the mourners!


    brett brady (bcb at flex dot com)
    2007-03-12 03:35:23


    funeral procession...
    the last car picks up
    a hitchhiker too

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-12 05:46:56

    ahhhh, the power, mystique, and (charm) of "too"; causing one to conceive and perceive the many worlds in a ku...


    ed, thanks for sharing.


    "funeral procession" caused me to ponder if the last car was part of the procession, too.

    stray yellow dog
    stranded on the roadside--
    a hitch-hiker, too

    Narayanan Raghunathan
    2007-03-12 06:30:30

    Dear friends
    Dylan is irritated by this "too" related discussion. He has clarified this to me. Since this is his site and so it is his prerogative ~ I request you to shift the venue of this discussion to

    Check this article ~

    Thank you ~
    Narayanan Raghunathan

    ed markowski
    2007-03-12 07:37:52


    the last car TOO was part of the procession.
    i found the incident both strange and

    monk's hut
    the mountain it sits upon too
    is crumbling


    2007-03-12 09:23:36

    Too much!
    I enjoyed the haiku!

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-12 09:30:16

    ed, even stranger and more compelling, too, if it had been the first car...


    crackers crumbling
    from the child's hand
    the swans feast

    2007-03-12 10:57:05

    winter gravestone
    steam rises from the stray dog's pee

    ed markowski
    2007-03-12 12:32:18


    had it been the hearse, i may have marked
    it off as hallucination. that would've been
    too compelling!


    a fresh layer of moss
    on mother's gravestone...
    summer begins

    brett brady (bcb at flex dot com)
    2007-03-12 14:09:32

    growing over the older

    ed markowski
    2007-03-12 14:53:32

    mother's grave...
    the withered roses
    from her garden

    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-12 16:40:03

    as summer ends--
    rolling stones


    ed, these are strange times. weren't we at least briefed(j/k) by the likes of the outer limits, the twilight zone, and the x-files.

    and, for some even stranger reason, jeffrey's "noon rush" (2003/04/08) comes to mind too.


    mother's walk
    through the garden
    lilac aroma

    Ed Schwellenbach
    2007-03-12 17:10:50

    slow moving hearse---
    skidding into headstones,
    the driven snow

    I like your poem without the "too." With the "too," the "two" would seem to mean "in addition to," but you have not indicated or implied any antecedent or referent. And therefore, IMHO, the "two" would provide fuzziness not complexity.

    d. f. tweney
    2007-03-12 21:01:41

    Narayanan, Shyam, Bobby, and others -- let me apologize for my irritation earlier. What initially seemed to me a case of an author carping at his editor now seems to have blossomed into a very interesting, wide-ranging discussion. My first impression was wrong! I am happy to see renga as well as discussion on this site. Carry on, either here or at You will anyway, I know. ;)

    Narayanan Raghunathan (aum_raudrabrahmanarayanan at yahoo dot com)
    2007-03-12 22:06:01

    Dear friends Welcome to

    Check this article ~
    "Ah! Too Be or Not Too Be"

    Thank you ~
    Narayanan Raghunathan

    Thank you Dylan for posting my comments you had withheld!

    brett brady
    2007-03-13 13:19:36


    b. m. richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2007-03-13 18:38:33

    dft, the magnitude of your responsibilities, while maintaining tinywords, must be overwhelming; sifting through the legitimate and illegitimate. an apology is unwarranted. over the years, you've been a beacon of light through it all.


    winter blues-
    grey clouds
    give way to a blue sky


    dft, keep up the brilliant work


    after tomorrow, i may deny having written this. ;)

    vineeth (monkmetagalaxy at yahoo dot co dot in)
    2007-07-25 11:08:27

    thankyou mr narayanan for this excellent haiku. bt was 'winter' an actual necessity to convey your abstract imagery? wouldnt it have been a good haiku even if it had just been 'a funeral, a stray dog, joins the crowd'? iam not as gifted an haiku writer as you are but it looks to me as if you added winter just to have a 'season word' or 'kigo' in your haiku.

    Narayanan Raghunathan (aum_raudrabrahmanarayanan at yahoo dot com)
    2007-07-25 20:18:40

    Hello Mr. Vineeth. Thank you for the response. It was "winter funeral" ~ so I wrote so. You are questioning my sincerity. Write to me personally ! I will answer you more elaborately. I could not link to your address.
    You must be a malayaali!

    Lesley Dewar
    2007-08-13 17:10:13

    Pet cemetery
    A thousand tears and heartbreaks
    Memories survive

    We mourn our loss, we know they mourn their own. Why should a stray dog not be moved, too, and join this human community in grief?

    The presence of a cat or dog, stray or otherwise, can provide a moment of great consolation with their inate sense of understanding and shared affection.

    2007-08-13 21:14:14

    Thank you Lesley for your comments.
    Mr. Vineeth please link to my address and i will answer you elaborately. It is perhaps true that many haiku writers in non-Japanese artifically introduce a "kigo". You could have written a similar comment on many Haiku in "tinywords" itself. Why did you choose my Haiku for your attack? But I am very meticulous on this point! Please check the essays on my site.