LHA library

Strands of the original haiku DNA have been cross-bred into many other cultures, spiritualities and languages ever since Japan opened its borders and culture to the international community.

It is our hope that the Living Haiku Anthology reflects what is being written as haiku today with no willful attempt to circumscribe future manifestations of the essential haiku DNA.


LHA Contest - Winning Haiku

Second Place

moon about the shadow i drag

Meik Blöttenberger (USA)

This very brief monoku provides at least two readings, depending on whether or not you find a caesura, and this justifies its choice of format. We might read the opening as “moon about”, which may further be taken to be either an imperative or a verb phrase. The imperative reading doesn’t take us very far, but as a verb phrase this sets up the poem either as a rather lugubrious phrase and fragment poem: moon about (pause) the shadow i drag; or else it’s a slightly ornate way of saying there is a moon tonight: (there’s a) moon about (pause) (and as a consequence here is) the shadow (that) I drag. It is simply causal when laid out like this, but it coheres and we are free to make of this somewhat normative poem, especially the verb, what we will.

On the other hand, if we read the poem all in one go, what I call “speedrush”, then the poem comes alive. What I parse in this fashion is a story of the redemptive powers of moonlight: even if I am in an emotional state wherein it feels I am dragging my (weightless) shadow, all about that umbra is the silver kingdom of the moon. Even the darkness of self can be surrounded and wholly contained, if not breached. The speedrush technique works by getting all the information of the poem into consciousness before an internal editor has the chance to begin ordering it for you. So the technique, in its pervasiveness, surrounds the substance of the poem just as the moonlight surrounds the shadow, a neat correlation of technique and content.


- Jim Kacian