Friday, August 02, 2013

tiny words: big appreciation

It's always encouraging to have a haiku chosen for tiny words and satisfying to have comments of appreciation posted there too. But when someone takes the time to analyse and dissect your haiku with insight and eloquence, and share that response, then that makes your appearance in the online journal even more worthwhile.

Many thanks to Strider, Haiku Apprentice at Learning Haiku by Reading and Doing for taking the time to respond to my haiku on 31st July 2013.

tinted mirror
what I think
I believe

-Lynne Rees

'Wow, another haiku poem that raises and sets me pondering philosophical issues. Or should I say, "confronting" those issues. Because the "mirror" mentioned in the work confronts us all every day, with apparent certainty. Who am I? What face do I present to the world? And for that matter, what is "the world"? This is literally an "existential" haiku!

This poem seems to deliberately set up an echo to Descartes' famous "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think therefore I am". For me, Lynne Rees appears to be challenging me to recognize that our other mirrors may also be "tinted". How do we know? What do we think? What do we believe about the world?

What we "believe" about ourself, our appearance, we usually judge by means of a mirror - even though intellectually we "know" of course that everything is in reverse. So when shown a picture of ourself in a photograph we experience with something like shock the revelation of what we "really" look like.

So for me, this poem is almost like a zen zazen, a challenge - and also a means - to balance our left and right brains. Our left hemisphere breaks reality into pieces - like shards of glass; it focuses on and manipulates "facts" and "data". The right hemisphere by contrast works to integrate these into wholes; into fully comprehensible pictures of reality. So which side of the mirror is real?

This poem leaves me unsettled. There is no final answer. Like those parallel mirrors in which I see myself reflected endlessly into the distance, this poem, and these philosophical questions, recur endlessly. The writing and the reading, the poet and the reader, are the mirror images. Which side knows? Which side believes?

Ah, wonderful!

Strider'