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Syndic Literary Journal

Haibun by Neal & Elaine Whitman



Japanese Friendship Garden

San Jose California



Tilting Toward the Sun

On a spring morning, we enter the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose, California – husband and wife, haiku poet and photographer. I had been invited to recite haiku there that afternoon. But, the morning is ours –– ours to practice our respective arts. I make notes – – – fleeting moments in time / the ah-ness of mid- spring. She takes note – still life in each frame / the such-ness of a May day. For each of us, one thing happens at a time and captures our attention – we show it with word or image. A rule of haiku: two things that do and do not go together. Resonance. A rule of composition: two subjects that cause the viewer to look back and forth. Reverberation. The haiku poet’s path is never straight: where will it end? The photographer takes aim and looks for a vanishing point: where does it lead? The poem not read is unfinished. The photograph not seen is undeveloped. All art is an offer made, a gift.

the gate unlocked –
a morning cool and calm
opens our eyes


open at ten
early arrivals
first in line


her suggestion:
take your time
spring outing


arms akimbo
centering my attention
below the surface


the pine tree
hovering over the pond
my own reflection


set in stone
a haiku tablet
my poem adrift

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Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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