Thursday, 20 March 2014

Traces

Calm waters down the river;
Vs and Ws
Are printed on puddles of mud

March 20, 2014

Monday, 3 March 2014

PDF Book

The silent room;
Pages slide slowly
Into the sound of words

March 3, 2014

Sunday, 16 February 2014

I stare at the emptiness,
The emptiness stares back at me;
Smiling.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

democracy and other considerations

It's a bird...
it's a plane...
no, it's a coup d'etat

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summering

The cold mountain;
No past or future
Only goosebumps

June 8, 2013

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Haunted Mountain

Menacing skies:
The empty swing
Goes back and forth

07/12/2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

White Mist

A sudden breeze
Brings snow out of nowhere:
Ah! it's styrofoam ...

24/11/2012

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tearless

The tender snow
Has wiped away
the weeping willow's tears
03/01/2012

Friday, 10 August 2012

arab socialism

Infants are slaughtered
To protect the nation from terrorism
Long live the President

Friday, 30 March 2012

Tears





White Rose
In the morning dew,
Tears rolled.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

World Map

Peeling an egg,
Sticky pieces of shell
Form the world map

12/02/2012

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

White ...

The white sky,
Ripped into pieces,
Is falling on the ground

17/01/2012

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Montaigne in Arabia

Reading the life of Montaigne;
From the balcony rises
A woman's bedouin song

December 29, 2011

Saturday, 10 September 2011

tomatina (in reverse)

Rivers of blood flowing,
In meandres on the elegant pavement,
Tomato juice in Buñol

The Bonfire

On the surface of the black water,
The reflection of a bonfire,
Slowly sinking into the abyss.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Tomatina

Tomatina in Buñol,
Tomato juice flows in the streets
Like rivers of blood


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Milk?

Cutting the onion root,
White juice emerges
From inside out  

19/06/2011
 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Shutters

The heavy day;
Eyelids are closing slowly
Along with the laptop 

01/06/2011

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Wave

A gentle wave
Is moving like wind
Across shades of blue sea

12/05/2011

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Bee

The bee,
Trying to reach the center of the flower,
Slips down repeatedly 

08/04/2011

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Overload

The steering wheels;
An overloaded white truck
Is sailing on the road

26/03/2011

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A blissful match

Toes dug in the sand;
Water brushing my feet
A blissful match, yet unnoticed

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lemonade

The long row of trees;
Splashing lemons
Are dissolving on the ground

07/03/2011

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Global Warming

Standing on the top of the slope
Wind blowing in my ears
Glazing at the snowless hills

Late (edited version)

Rain pouring down;
battling against the seconds
the student runs to class

Monday, 28 February 2011

Spots

A thundering sound;
On the shutters
The hurried splatter of heavy drops

28/02/2011

Monday, 21 February 2011

Enid Blyton

On the rooftop
Clear rainwater covers a torn page:
"Histoires de la lune bleue"

February 21, 2011

Friday, 11 February 2011

Patterns

In the gutter,
Past the tiny waterfall,
Sun-rays are interweaving

11/02/2011

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Roland Barthes on the Cucumber

I was reading Roland Barthes' L'Empire des Signes in Roland Barthes, Oeuvres Completes (vol. 3, 1968-1971), when I came across this (original in French; the translation below, slightly edited, comes from the Internet):

At the Floating Market in Bangkok, each vendor sits in a tiny motionless canoe, selling minute quantities of food: seeds, a few eggs, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, pimentos...From himself to his merchandise, including his vessel, everything is small. Occidental food, heaped up, dignified, swollen to the majestic, linked to a certain operation of prestige, always tends toward the heavy, the grand, the abundant, the copious; the Oriental follows the converse movement, and tends toward the infinitesimal: the cucumber’s future is not its accumulation or its thickening, but its division, its tenuous dispersal, as this haiku puts it:

Cut cucumber;
Its juice runs
Drawing spider legs
(p. 362)

Quite interesting, as it sums up the whole ethos of haiku, its size, its suggestive power, and its contrast to Occidental, Western poetry and hence its contrasting outlook at life.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Happiness

Putting some make up,
The rays met the skin
True Happiness!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Hangover

Vast alcohol
entering the bloodstreams;
Awaiting the hangover


Thanks Paul for the invite!!

Late

Rain pouring down
Battling against the seconds
The student runs

Friday, 4 February 2011

Thirst

After the heavy rains,
The tree leaves
Are thirsting for more 

04/02/2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Paradox

People partying
While cannons echo everywhere
The paradox of Lebanon

To whom the bell tolls

The clock ticking;
A simple sound
Reminds us of our mortality

Friday, 21 January 2011

Ad infinitum

Ephemeral reflections on a raindrop
Are ad infinitum worlds
And eternal universes

Stranger

Stranger's handshake;
In the shine of his smile
Smiles hypocrisy

hello

hello everyone,
as you can see i'm new here and very excited to be part of this blog.
I'd really appreciate any help in writing or understanding Haiku as ill try and be of assistance when needed.

Thank you

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Haiku Handbook 5

On the relationship between the haiku and its object, Higgins writes (in The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku), in the context of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), probably the most famous of all haiku poets:

One of Basho's disciples explains that to be genuine a poem must contain the spontaneous feeling that comes from the object itself. In effect, the poet's first job is to share in the essential nature of the thing written about. Basho's disciple goes on to say that just as a mere "look at" an object is not enough to produce the deep seeing that begins inspiration, so the writing of a mere description cannot capture the essence of an object the writer's mind has penetrated. Basho says, "In writing do not let a hair's breadth separate your self from the subject. Speak your mind directly; go to it without wandering thoughts. (10)

The directness, which is such an obvious (and sometimes such a surprising) feature of haiku, is explained by Higgins:

Having shared in the life of an object, the writer must share this life with others through the medium of words. But these words must connect directly to the writer's mind, that is in turn directly connected to the object. This, the expressive stage, logically comes after the perceptual stage. But, as Basho clearly says, the two stages ideally occur as one. In the final poem, both the language of the poem and the mind of the poet should be transparent to the reader, who, on reading the poem, should see directly into the inner life of the object as the poet did. This is the ideal of Basho-School haiku, an ideal almost all haiku poets since have striven to attain. (10)

In other words, identification, directness, and transparency; a movement from perception to expression, and from the event to the writer and, ultimately, to the reader.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Chase

The grey clouds;
Rusty leaves on the road
Start chasing the fast truck

30/12/2010

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Reflections

Cars on fire?
In the half-covered parking
Reflections of a late afternoon sun

August 21, 2009

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Human Condition

fatal endings
wailing mortals;
your mundane third law of motion by Newton.


(10-12-2010, I just learned that my friend's sister died)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Smile

Walking back home;
Near the entrance 
The moon smiles back at me

09/12/2010

Friday, 3 December 2010

Poplar Tree

Going out for a walk,
A crowd of green hands
Start waving 'goodbye'

02/12/2010

Monday, 22 November 2010

Upside Down

The inflamed edges of the clouds
Are touching the horizon;
The sky is upside down!

22/11/2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Black Mug

Drying the black mug with a towel;
At the bottom, a shiny, wet swirl

December 27, 2007

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Almost Whole

The dimmed blue;
A shy face is shimmering 
Over the mountain's shoulder 

20/10/2010

Monday, 23 August 2010

Fooled!

A hot evening indoors;
The flying mantis
Settles on the kids’ drawing of a plant

June 7, 2007

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Web

Through the entangled cables
The sun shines 
Like a spider

05/08/2010

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Haiku Handbook 4

Another passage from Higgins' The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku (previous passage is here):

Haiku work, as we read them, by giving us a moment to look at some thing, some event, and see it more clearly than we have perhaps seen it before. The author had to stop to take note of this object, this event, and to write it down (...) Haiku not only give us moments from the writer's experience, but go on to give us moments of our own. The central act of haiku is letting an object or event touch us, and then sharing it with another. If we are the writer, we share it with the reader. If we read a haiku, we share that moment, or one like it, with the writer.

Being small, haiku lend themselves especially to sharing small, intimate things. By recognizing the intimate things that touch us we come to know and appreciate ourselves and our world more. By sharing these things with others we let them into our lives in a very special, personal way. (6)

So, sharing is important here. Haiku is by nature small because the flash of recognition (enlightenment?) itself is small. Make it longer and it fades into intellectualization, as the reader (and also the writer) has more time to play with the language.

Indeed, language is, in a way, the "big enemy" of direct experience (witness the many spiritual schools which prefer silence over big speeches). As Jacques Derrida wrote, "language is always metaphorical," meaning that it can never immediately and fully represent reality, being always deferred.

The problem, then, is how to share insight without spoiling it with language, the vehicle of deferral and intellectualization. One cannot remain silent forever, and one of the graceful solutions invented by the Japanese was haiku (the Western world had equivalents, of course, with the Imagists as the most famous).

Size is not enough, though. The writer must pay attention not to concentrate too much of his/her own "translation" of reality into the haiku, or else there is not enough space left for the reader's own reaction and understanding. Conversely, the haiku cannot be too dry and impersonal, or else there is so much space for the reader that the reaction and understanding find no place to anchor themselves.

Balance, therefore, is the key.

Not too much, not too little.

The "Middle Way."

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Race

A blow of wind;
Tree leaves race on the pavement,
The rustling sound

30/06/2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

Colors

Pale is the moon;
A sudden light reflects rainbow
on a shattered glass

2010-08-06

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Distance

Away from home;
The moon, here and there,
Is the same

23/07/2010

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A Dream

the road is a snake;
one corner suddenly bends
with closed eyes comes death

09-05-2010

Friday, 9 July 2010

Hibiscus

Late afternoon;
The red Hibiscus flower
Folds itself to sleep!

09/07/2010

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Mirage

Water on the road?
No, a mirage,
Just shadows of the trees

20/06/2010

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Haiku Handbook 3

Third excerpt, prompted by my "aha" comment earlier, also from Higgins' The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. (Previous passage is here).

The other day as my wife and I were going over the checkbook in the dining room one of our daughters, in the west-facing living room, called us to come look at the sky. She saw how the clouds' ragged edges took light from the sun, intensifying both the dark gray of the main body of the clouds and the pale blue of the late autumn sky. She was touched by the lovely picture it all made. She felt that we should see the sky for ourselves, should share directly the experience that triggered her feelings. So she called us.

As we looked at the sky, we saw what she saw. And at the same time we thought back to other skies we had known. I felt the mixed feelings of time passing, the loss of the heat of summer and the beginning of the rush toward the winter holidays and the New Year. My wife spoke of the deeper colors that would come later, with the reddening of the sunset. As the three of us looked at the sky, almost wordlessly, we felt a sharing that goes far deeper than the words I have just used to describe the event can ever penetrate. (4-5)

So it is indeed the sense of recognition which is important, and the sharing of that moment between haiku writer and haiku reader.

The process may be put like this: event (can be natural, social, or whatever) is seen/experienced; writer uses the medium of haiku to translate the "aha" experience in a very short but very suggestive way, effacing him/herself behind it; reader reads haiku and, if it is a successful one, will almost get the event in its original impact and (hopefully) experience the "aha" moment, albeit in a slightly different, and specifically personal manner.

Now, whether it is actually possible to transport the same moment even when the actual event is not there anymore is of course open to discussion, but it is admirable that the haiku at least tries to do so with such an economy of words and with such evocative power.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Tap Dance

Tap dance in the kitchen?
The boiling water
Is shaking the pan's lid!

15/06/2010 

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Scene

Books and papers all over the desk;
In my hands
A heavy head.

Red

Images of dead children in Qana;
I draw red flowers
On my kids’ outstretched palms

August 2, 2006

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Big Leaves

Sticking out like palms,
The big tree leaves 
Are begging for a handshake! 

20/05/2010

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Haiku Handbook 2

Another excerpt from The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku (previous post here):

We often see or sense something that gives us a bit of a lift, or a moment's pure sadness. Perhaps it is the funnies flapping in the breeze before a newsstand on a sunny spring day. Or some scent on the wind catches us as we step from the bus, or bend to lift the groceries from the car (...) Haiku happen all the time, wherever there are people who are "in touch" with the world of their senses, and with their own feeling response to it. (Higginson, 3-4)

I think that a good haiku is a combination of impressionism, i.e., how we experience the event/apparition/scene itself in a "sensual" (through the senses) manner, and of suggestiveness, i.e., in not telling everything and allowing readers to respond the way they want.

Of course, the event/apparition/scene is also always suggested to us in the first place, and never imposed on us directly. As it is discreetly suggested to us, it is only fair that we should reciprocate by discreetly suggesting it to our readers.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Steaming Mug

The steaming mug;
On the surface of the tea
Clear white clouds are gliding

December 25, 2003

Old Age

An old bent tree
bathing in the sunset
warms its crooked joints

7-5-2010

My brother came up with this haiku yesterday, if we can call it one, because he doesn't know a thing about haikus and asked me to post it to see if it is a legitimate one.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Wild Berries

The fallen berries;
Under my shoes
Squashing sounds!

16 April 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tree Leaves

Fresh afternoon;
Sharp and wet tree leaves
Stick out like insolent tongues !

1 April 2010

Friday, 26 March 2010

Book Covers

A puff of wind;
The covers of the books
Move in unison

August 5, 2003

[It's a hot summer day, and I'm on the balcony with half a dozen books in front of me on the table. All are closed except the one I'm reading. Suddenly, there's an unexpected gust of wind which gets inside the covers of the closed books and pushes them up, all of them at the same time, and then all of them drop back together, as if invisible hands had lifted them for an instant and pushed them back...]

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Runaway Cat

The collared white cat,
Stealing a moment in the sun 
Rushes to chase the jumping robin!

13/02/2010

[Walking on a road full of fruity trees when I encounter this beautiful clean white cat wearing a red collar, sitting straight looking at me. For a moment I thought that such a cat might not be used on the wild life when suddenly a bird jumps in between us. Instinctively the cat runs and chases the bird down the bushes forgetting all about the luxury back home.]

Monday, 22 February 2010

Graduation Day

Graduation day;
A baby mantis
Is perching on the top of my shoe

July 2003

[Sitting on the podium in my full gown and cap with the other faculty members; graduating students behind us and audience to the front. I cross my legs and suddenly find a very, very tiny praying mantis on the very top of my shoe, completely oblivious of the whole show.]

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Lake

                                                                     
   Frozen lake;
       The moving blue and white forms
  Reflect the sky
  
30/01/2010

[ I took this picture with my phone in Faraya while I was walking.]


Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Snail

Strong afternoon rains;
The heavy rose is bent
But the snail moves on and on
 
 20/01/2010

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

We and They

The retarded boy jerks and yells;
Behind the window,
Hurrying airport passengers

September 3, 2001

[While at Athens airport waiting for a flight to Madrid, a young boy (15-16?) with mental and physical disability was violently jerking and yelling next to us. Just behind him, facing us, was a glass panel where passengers could be seen coming and going. The contrast between what the boy was going through, and where his life and fate were taking him, and the passengers (us included) hurriedly moving in conscious, but feigned ignorance of non-normality (the yells were audible to all) was both striking and touching. I have kept the term "retarded" despite its offensive connotations nowadays in order to stress the perceived difference and the pathos involved. Life can be sometimes terrible.]

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Weightlessness

Weightless forms racing in the hallway;
In the eyes of children
Visions of Christmas
 
 23 Dec 09

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Buzzing Fingers

The lost beetle;
Holding it by the antenna,
My buzzing fingers

May 30, 2001

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Winter in Lebanon

Searching lights in the gray clouds, beat music on my windshield;
it's winter.

13-12-2009

[searching lights: the strong projector lights placed next to restaurants or night clubs reaching towards the sky and moving]

The Gutter

"After the rain,
 Waters in the gutter
 Flow like a colorless bloodstream"

 10/11/2009

Monday, 23 November 2009

Parting

The long journey home;
Tears on her face
Run like diamonds in the sun

July 6, 1999

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A Spider

In the middle of the road,
A spider hangs
On a thread from the sky

11 nov 2009

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Ice Cream

Sunshine on the streets;
The wet pink tongue
On colours of ice cream

July 6, 1999

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Jasmine

"A hot polluted day;
 The jasmine's fragrance
 Soothes the air"

20/10/09

[walking on a hot afternoon, the humid air blending with the cars' smoke, only by the side of the road, the jasmine's scent, soothes the aching atmosphere from pollution]

Whiskers

Whiskers trembling in the breeze,
The cat stares at the
Blackness of the night

March 10, 1996

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Summer Shower

A sudden summer shower;
Under the cars
The ground is still dry

June 7, 1993

Friday, 28 August 2009

Rainbow

"A hot morning;
At the bottom of the waterfall
Shines a rainbow"

June 4, 1993

[Same day as the haiku below (Waterfall), same place. In this shaded, densely forested, and hidden part of the valley, where the small waterfall was splashing on the thirsty stones, a "mini-rainbow," not bigger than two persons standing side by side, magically appeared on the stones...]

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Autumn Leaf

"The autumn leaf in my hand:
 Wrinkled cheeks
 On a grandmother's face"

12/08/09

[Early in the morning,arriving at NDU,a dry yellow tree leaf which I picked
of the floor and laid in the palm of my hand, reminds me suddenly,
 of the inevitable fact of old age and death.]

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Waterfall

"A hot day;
Deep in the valley
The waterfall refreshes the stones"

June 4, 1993


[Somewhere in the north of Lebanon, we were hiking with friends and went down a very luxuriant valley. It was very hot and probably before mid-day when we reached the lush bottom of the valley. The sound of falling water led us to an almost hidden corner where a mini-waterfall was splashing on the rocks. In this secluded place, in the surrounding silence, in the heat of the day, at least the stones were happy!]

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Poplar Tree

"Poplar tree leaves,
 In the wind:
A clapping audience !''


Laqlouq 26/07/09

[On a summer day, we were invited at Laqlouq for an outdoor lunch,150 people chatting, when suddenly, not a word, the loud music stops,and out of nowhere, a fresh wind shakes the countless rounded Poplar leaves,making them sound like a soft clapping of hands.]

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Diamond Drop

"The drop,
An instant before leaving the faucet,
Becomes a diamond"

March 23, 1993

[Cool, early morning; same kitchen, same stillness. Something catches the corner of my eye: the sink's faucet, just below the window, is slowly dripping and, as the drop takes shape before falling, at that very split-second moment, a ray of sunshine strikes through it and wondrously transforms it into a shining, multi-coloured diamond!]

Friday, 17 July 2009

Lizard

"A cool December morning;
In the courtyard the lizard and I:
Both in the sun!"

December 7, 1992

[A friend of mine, interested in antiques, had passed by me early in the morning to go to Tripoli where a traditional glassblower was making Phoenician-style glassware. When we arrived to the artisan's shop, we had to wait a few minutes in the courtyard. It was a cold day and I instinctively walked to a place where the still feeble sun was shining. It was then that I saw the lizard; it, too, was in search of a sunny spot and we both stood there, both of us animals driven by our primeval need for warmth.]

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Beats Haiku

In Jack Kerouac's famous novel, The Dharma Bums (1959), the Beat-generation writer tells about his climbing Matterhorn Peak in California with his friends, among them "Japhy Ryder" (in real life the poet Gary Snyder) an expert in Far-Eastern cultures and languages and Kerouac's Buddhist inspiration. Below is a passage where the climbers are throwing haiku left and right:

'Look over there,' sang Japhy, 'yellow aspens. Just put me in the mind of a haiku . . . "Talking about the literary life--the yellow aspens."' Walking in this country you could understand the perfect gems of haikus the Oriental poets had written, never getting drunk in the mountains or anything but just going along as fresh as children writing down what they saw without literary devices or fanciness of expression. We made up haikus as we climbed, winding up and up now on the slopes of brush.

'Rocks on the side of the cliff,' I said, 'why don't they tumble down?'

'Maybe that's a haiku, maybe not, it might be a little too complicated,' said Japhy. 'A real haiku's gotta be as simple as porridge and yet make you see the real thing, like the greatest haiku of them all probably is the one that goes 'The Sparrow hops along the veranda, with wet feet." By Shiki. You see the wet footprints like a vision in your mind and yet in those few words you also see all the rain that's been falling that day and almost smell the wet pine needles.'

'Let's have another.'

'I'll make up one of my own this time, let's see, "Lake below . . . the black holes the wells make," no, that's not a haiku goddammit, you never can be too careful about haiku.'

'How about making them up real fast as you go along, spontaneously?'


(Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, London: Penguin, 2000, 52)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


















The setting sun at the horizon,

Shimmering lights of boats,

The economy of sound

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Orange Juice

"A cool sunny morning;
Pouring orange juice,
The sound of the foam"

November 11, 1992


[A cold but sunny morning; very early morning, in fact, like maybe 06:00. The house is quiet as everybody is still asleep. I go to the kitchen and again all is "clear" and still. I get the bottle of orange juice from the fridge, stand in front of the kitchen window, open the bottle, and pour the juice into a tall glass. After that, in the still, sunny morning, there is only the crystal-clear, almost-too-loud sound of the orange juice foam in the glass.]

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Haiku Handbook

I've just started what seems to be a very interesting book, The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku, by William J. Higginson, McGraw-Hill, 1985.

From the Introduction:
The primary purpose of reading and writing haiku is sharing moments of our lives that have moved us, pieces of experience and perception that we offer or receive as gifts. At the deepest level, this is the one great purpose of all art, and especially of literature. The writer invites the reader to share in the experience written about, and in the experience of the shared language itself. (v)

It's a very basic definition, and the author is aware of it, of course, but it's nonetheless a good starting point.

The important words are "moments" and "pieces," indicative of the brevity of the haiku. A flashing insight into the reality and concreteness of an event/vision/experience cannot be overburdened with words.

Another important word is "gift," and a haiku is, like the tea ceremony, offered in the spirit of sharing a precious "something" in a fleeting world.

More excerpts soon as I go through the book!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

When I looked at a New Born Baby

maps traced on a white covering. blue and green paths from an origin.
a baby's skin oh so delicate!

23-06-2009

(This is an image I got when looking at a new born baby; he was only wearing diapers and his skin was so sensitive and white, almost translucent.)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Out on the Balcony at Night

"Out on the balcony at night,
Silvery streaks
Of a summer rain"

July 21, 1992

[In Lebanon, summer rains are quite rare, but when they do happen, they take the shape of quick and powerful showers lasting only a few minutes. It is night-time, the air is thick with heat, and the cicadas are singing not too far away. Suddenly the shower starts, builds up, and the drops, against the clear dark night, appear like silver spears hitting down the earth.]

Monday, 15 June 2009

Trees in the Yellow Moon

"Trees in the yellow moon;
A few seconds
And they will be gone!"

July 30, 1991


[It is a hot summer night, and the yellow moon is exceptionally big; as it starts its journey upward, it passes behind a wooded hill and, suddenly, the trees are silhouetted against the moon. Quick! The beautiful illusion lasts only for a few seconds!]

Saturday, 13 June 2009

My First Haiku: Black clouds over Beirut

"Black clouds over Beirut;
A hole in the sky
Reminds me of summer"

January 10, 1990

[It's a winter afternoon, and black clouds are weighing heavily on the capital. Suddenly, the clouds shift and a ray of sunshine pierces through a hole not meant to be there; the sun had always been shining, unknown to us!]

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Smoker


A pack of cigarettes lies on the table,

Comes the smoker and opens it.

A pack of cigarettes lies on the table,

Leaves the smoker addicted to it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Everyday Encounter



burnt noodles tall and in mid-air
this girl's head with curly hair

(30-05-2009)

Hung from the Ceiling




a fan is 3 that serves 15 within the 3 months of summer throughout the 15 credits of a semester

(28-05-2009)

Friday, 5 June 2009

How this Blog will Work

If you are a Lebanese living in Lebanon, a Lebanese living abroad, or a non-Lebanese residing in Lebanon, and you have written some "good"* Haiku, send me an email (look in my profile), introduce yourself, and I'll send you an invitation to join as author/contributor.

Throughout the years, I have written (what I think are) a few "good" Haiku, so I will be posting some of them every now and then.

Comments are moderated, so there's no danger of getting offensive or disrespectful messages.

As author/contributor, please follow the simple layout below:

"Haiku"
Date
[Your own comments, if any]

_________________________
*What makes a "good" Haiku is quite a thorny issue, but the comments are there to help.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

How it Started

Back in the late 1980s, I had finished my Licence at the Lebanese University and was starting an M.A. in English literature. The campus in Fanar had a lovely library, with a long but small reading room and, at the back of it, double doors opening onto the shelving room. The room was huge (by Lebanese standards), very well lit (with big windows on the sides), and spacious enough between the two rows of shelves.

This is where my interest in the Far-East in general and in Buddhism in particular was given substance in the surprisingly rich collection I found there. From Buddhism to Zen to Haiku, the journey is quite natural, and I ended up breathlessly but ecstatically going over R. H. Blyth's four volumes on Haiku.

I remember spending many hours inside the sun-lit library appreciating the brevity, directness, and, paradoxically, the suggestiveness of a three-line poem from which everything but the essence of the moment had been removed.

Standing like small jewels, Haiku are a reminder of the ephemerality of all things, but also console us that the "here and now" is well worth living and experiencing.

Welcome!

Welcome to "Haiku from Lebanon"!

We will be posting original haiku along with links to, and original research on, this unique form of Japanese poetry and its applicability to Lebanese poets and writers.