Today I drove with friends to San Francisco for one of the quarterly meetings of the Haiku Poets of Northern California. Meetings are held in Fort Mason, an old military installation now transformed to public uses. I took time to take a few pictures. When I get home I always wonder why I didn't take more pictures! I love the light here, but it is so bright and reflective that I cannot see what I am doing while I am doing it. What I should plan (I always think later) is come here and spend the whole afternoon and devote it to taking photographs--with maybe a whiffle through the bookstore that supports the San Francisco Public Library. There is some great stuff for sale there. I almost bought an old doll book today. Or an old bird or flower print. The red and cream of the buildings and the changing blues of the bay and sky make beautiful compositions everywhere you look--and in the distance is the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a great haiku meeting, too, with an excellent reading and a lecture-workshop on small poetic forms made by counting words or syllables according to a plan or template you can develop yourself. This works to discover surprising material and poetic juxtapositions.
The clouds today were softly ornamenting the blue, blue sky. For some reason, I thought of the Chinese poet Gu Cheng. I've quoted him many times on this blog; here is a link to those posts; it will begin with this one..
Far and Near
you look at me one moment
and at clouds the next.
when you're looking at me, you're far away,
but when you're looking at the clouds, how could we be nearer!
Gu Cheng, translated by Gordon T. Osing and De-An Wu Swihart
The form of this (at least in translation) is: two three-line stanzas, each beginning with a very short line followed by two longer lines. And the last line is the longest in the poem and ends with an exclamation point. You should know that I do not know how (or if) they do linebreaks in Chinese. I'm just looking at the English poem.