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Bob Poulin on Issa

Bob Poulin

Haiku is an adventure in fun, just plain old common fun with time, events, and happenings using just old common language to tell what it is you discovered and realizing it discovered you discovering it. Haiku is something in Nature you enjoy realizing and seeing that hits you between the eyes and you feel dizzy with giddy realization that you are involved and part of the oneness of the event and the oneness of life, you are in it and it is in you. Sort of like the Tao, the way of life is the Haiku. Then you just don't think really, just let the subconscious do it for you, find the moment that is passing before your sight. Just feel the haiku and don't try to force it into form or being.

The best way to start the lesson of haiku is to emulate other haiku, to do it like the masters have done it with their expressive words; take that one haiku you love and say to yourself: self, if I had been there and seen what was seen I would have said it this way, my way of saying the same thing is this—then write it your way as close to the Master's way as you can using your experience and life lessons; what wells up in you and is said in common words is your way, or The Tao of You in Haiku. Your haiku, your way, your Tao. Emulate emulate emulate and then state in your words using your life lessons learned along your path in life, just put the Master's feelings into your personal feelings felt when you read their masterpieces; write it your way as close as you feel to the poem and then you have your haiku, in your own voice, in your words, in and with your feelings. The old Masters sometimes took whole lines and then built their haiku around a loved line off another Master's poem and made it their own. That is the secret. Take a haiku that boils up a memory of your own experience in life, make the leap, use the Master's copy as a template and write it the way you will, the MY WAY, and make it YOUR OWN POEM. It is sort of copying creatively what was seen and felt and put into words that brings to mind something that happened in your life; use it as a template, curve it, trace it and make it your own creation. Make it a new haiku, make it out of your mind, out of your heart, out of your feelings and out of your love for the moment expressed and found.

Haiku find you, you don't find haiku. Write out of discovery, not out of fantasy, for one is a living moment, the other a work of pure fiction. Don't make up a fancy thing out of your imagination—that is dead writing and if it ain't moving, if it ain't pulsating, it is dead and dead doesn't move, doesn't come alive. And above all: have fun. We can't all be Masters of the art, but we can all find pleasure on our way to discovering moments that make us happy, make us sad but above all make us a vehicle for having fun with our life's journey to the inner heart. Haiku is the heart of action. Haiku is fun. I believe with all my heart that if one puts heart and feelings and observes with pure awareness and then says what is seen and felt, it this happens? Then? There are no bad haiku! When you put all these ingredients into a haiku the haiku is YOU.

Issa felt the smallest joy in observing the tiniest things he saw in every moment alive. He feels even the life of a flea, of a small bird, of life's journey along a simple pathway, the way of Zen Haiku. Issa did not write haiku, Issa lived haiku every moment observing and being aware—Issa today in and through words is pure haiku. Issa was the living haiku spirit alive in his allotted moment in the scheme of time. Issa is the spirit of haiku. Haiku is Issa, Issa is haiku. The Tao unfurls in both, both are the Tao. When you read a poem by Issa you see and feel and touch bliss: the feelings of pure common bliss, and that is the best kind of eternity.