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Procrastination Dispatch


"Procrastination Dispatch"


My First Haiku
Originally printed in The Canon Fall's Beacon Newspaper

Since my last submission regarding baseball and underdogs, I have only half-wittedly written a short piece of prose. I wrote it spontaneously in an email to my beloved wife. She suggested that it was possibly the beginning of an excellent Haiku. Here it is:

Amidst a gust of spring
I hear moaning of heifer.

Though I have never been a true connoisseur of poetry, I am okay with stumbling upon it as one who appreciates the craft of language. A Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and then five again, while traditionally evoking images of nature (i.e. heifers in the morning). So, to transform my amateur two-line poem, which is simply about having a moment of appreciation for the mooing of a cow carried through the wind from a pasture across the river, I’m charged to follow those guidelines and make my first Haiku happen. Stick with me.

Quickly, the new first line of my Haiku becomes: ‘Midst a gust of spring (I cleverly omitted the syllable “a” of “amidst” and added an apostrophe). My second line has become: Hear sunrise heifer mooing (seven perfect haiku syllables). And finally, my third line is something to toil over, simply because it’s “the closer”. It must make the reader nod and hopefully sigh in conclusion. There are many options:

1) Steak and eggs for me
2) Straw and oats for thee
3) Don’t fear the Holstein
4) Over hill and dale
5) Moaning, “I’m a cow!”

After careful philosophical consideration, number five is the clear winner. It’s profound because cows wake and belt out their bovine declaration that “it’s another day, I have risen again, and yes, I’m still a cow”.

‘Midst a gust of spring
Hear sunrise heifer mooing
Moaning, “I am cow!”

So, I’ve finished my first Haiku. It was fun … but, in order for my column to have any substance other than humor or tongue-in-cheek absurdity, I must look into the philosophical ramifications of my haiku.

[insert photo here]

Years ago I had a campsite deep in an overgrown and uninhabited cow pasture at my folks’ place. Amidst lawn chairs, scrub trees, a fire pit, some potato chips, a radio quietly playing the Beatles, a lawn tractor with trailer, and an old glorious canvas tent (sorry we trashed your tent, Bob – wishing you and yours well up there in Nevis!), sunrise came that morning with a certain calmness that only exists beyond city streets. All at once, as the sun peaked over the horizon, the birds began to dart about, chirping and singing - emboldened with another heroic day of food searching while suddenly, because it is the first to rise, an unnamed cow bellows in the distance, wafting quietly over us like the six o’clock siren four miles out of town. My campsite buddy, Boyce (son of tent-owner Bob), lounging in a lawn chair across the campfire asks solemnly, “You know what that cow is saying?” I answer, half awake, “Huh?” He responds, “It’s saying ‘I’m still a cow!’”

I have never forgotten that moment, or my friend’s profound observation. I think of all the early mornings I suffer as our alarm clock wails. I answer it by groaning or flailing in resentment at the dawn that takes me from my dreams and the womb of slumber. Sometimes I simply pummel the clock with a “snooze fist”.

What is the philosophical end-all to my masterpiece Haiku? I guess it’s just that we all wake up tomorrow and realize again that we’re just human beings embarking on another day. We decide whether or not to be thankful and get on with being ourselves – much like cows do every morning when the sun hits the sky. In the end, our lives ain’t a whole lot different.

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" PROCRASTINATION
DISPATCH"
  ESSAYS AND ARTICLES
   
  2008
" Call of the Wild"
" Life Sans Spirit Animal"
   
  2007
" My First Haiku"