— Haiku!

“Insufficient fare!”
But, without saying a word,
stranger swipes me in.
            Janet Gottlieb, Brooklyn

Aha!  Haiku about helping a stranger!

Back in March of this year, The New York Times invited readers to submit haiku about New York City.  Haiku — a poem in three lines of five, seven and five syllables each (go ahead and count them!).  More than 2,800 submissions came in.  And they all spoke pungently about the “passing fragments” of our everyday worlds (Alan Feuer, NYT Sunday, April 27, 2014).

Haiku are expressions of lived experience.  A good haiku needs no explanation, the poem “happens,” as everyday experience happens.   As the reporter Feuer says, “There is no bigger picture here, only transitory images, seen as if rushing past the window of a cab.”

New York’s poet laureate, Marie Howe, helped select the poems to include in the Times Sunday article.  In her introduction to the piece, she said, “These are New York City haiku . . .  the best of the poems had a quality of the right now-ness of actual experience — a moment that happens.”

Such as the moment when a “stranger swipes me in.”

I wish I could write haiku.

4 thoughts on “— Haiku!

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