January 5, 2018

Poetry Friday--Nengajo

This past Monday, New Year's Day, post office workers in Japan scurried to deliver billions (yes, that is correct, billions) of postcards with the greeting, Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, Happy New Year.

I've been participating in a haiku postcard exchange, nengajo, since 2010 (click here for past years' posts). Nengajo is basically a New Year's card. Back in 2010, I belonged to a group of haiku poets who agreed to send postcards, with a haiku, to each other. Some of my postcards went halfway around the world. Sadly, the people who organized the exchange could not continue. I wanted to make it through the 12 years of the zodiac, so I've recently sent postcards out rather randomly to relatives and friends to keep going. I've got three more years to complete the cycle!

Last year and this, Jone Rush MacCulloch, also a haiku poet, invited Poetry Friday participants to exchange New Year's postcards. This exchange does not require a haiku, but I've continued in the nengajo spirit. What with the weather (extreme cold and some snow), I've been slow in sending out all my cards. I ask the exchange folks to forgive the delay.

2018 will be the Year of the Dog. And, it is also the elemental year associated with Earth (the others elements are Gold, Wood, Water, and Fire). So, this is the Year of the Earth Dog. (I've also seen it designated as the Year of the Brown Earth Dog.) The Earth Dog is communicative, serious, and a responsible worker.

Here is my postcard for 2018:


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Image CC BY 4.0, Wellcome Collection.

Text:

first walk...
following the dog into
the new year

Note: if I had been sending my postcard to an audience primarily made up of haiku poets, I probably would not have used the above poem. It leans heavily toward the figurative. For a haiku poet, a dog can lead down the road, or through a puddle, but not into a year. A dog is a dog, not a metaphor!

I might have used this:

first walk...
following the dog into
the deep woods

The reader can read his or her own meaning into "the deep woods." A chase? A fear-inducing situation? Contentment? Natural wonder? All of these are dependent on one's own experiences with a deep woods. My use of "first" is a kigo, short-hand for "new year." In the haiku below, I use "first morning walk," which to a regular haiku reader would trigger the idea that the setting is New Year's Day.

I wanted to have two postcards to send, but the image resolution on the card below is too low to reproduce well in print. It reproduces fine on a screen. (I used it as a Happy Haiga Day! post on November 26, so you may have seen it before.)


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Gracie, my granddog, is the star!

Text:

first morning walk
the expectation of
meeting a cat

If you would like a 2018 postcard, please send me your address at d(dot)mayr(at)comcast(dot)net. I'll send postcards as long as my supply of cards (I bought extra this year) and stamps lasts.

Catherine will be rounding out the Round-Ups for 2017 at Reading to the Core. Have a great 2018!

38 comments:

  1. It's so much fun to see all three poems, Diane. Each one has its own flair. (As a dog mom, I especially like the final poem.) This is a lovely tradition.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! You'd like Gracie, she's very affectionate, but also a little bonkers.

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  2. Love both poems,and the images, too. I also love the idea of nengajo, which I'd not heard of until Jone advertised this year's exchange.

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    1. I wonder how long it will take a postcard mailed from NH to get to Australia? I hope it won't take until February.

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  3. Thank you for participating in The Twelve Days of Christmas at Lunch Break

    much love...

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    1. I wish you a happy year of haiku and art!

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  4. I feel so wise stopping here and learning so much about new years traditions. Love this year's card. You are so generous and talented.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, my friend.

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  5. I'm working on my exchange postcards even as we speak. Thank goodness for snow day #2! Love your card. WOOF!

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  6. As the human of both a cat and a dog, I love all of your haiku. I'm not in too much of hurry to walk anywhere with them today, though! Thank you for sharing, and stay warm!

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  7. Huh! I didn't know that haiku doesn't demand metaphor...but the reader, optionally, creates their own. Did I get that right? I'm always blown away from what there is to learn about haiku. Thanks for that...and for the fun haiku poems above. I love the "expectation of meeting a cat" best. My dog & cat are an endless source of entertainment around here.

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    1. It's not a matter of haiku not demanding metaphor, haiku writers should abstain from using literary devices and shouldn't tell the reader what conclusions to draw from the poem. For example, you can say "streaks of orange" when writing about the sky, but don't follow it up with "a beautiful sky." Leave the interpretation to the reader. One reader may actually read "streaks of orange" and be reminded of how she felt when viewing a forest fire. Remember, there are no "haiku police" out there, so read lots of legitimate haiku resources (start with The Haiku
      Anthology
      edited by Cor van den Heuvel, any edition. Or read through the resources found toward the bottom of this page: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/the-haiku-foundation-education-wall/) and don't rely on what children's publishers are selling as haiku--they may be pretty little poems, or humorous treats, but they are not haiku).

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  8. I love how much I learn from you about haiku. I started The Haiku Anthology (to read through again) on New Year's Day!

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    1. I'm full of advice, or as some of my friends might say, "full of sh*t." I am highly opinionated, but I'm happy you found my recommendations to be of some use. ;-)

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  9. Thanks for explaining the new year, Diane and for the use of words. I ordered my cards, will have to wait for them to send! Happy New Year of the dog!

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    1. Thanks, Linda, and the same to you. I'm not going anywhere in this cold, so I'll patiently await your card.

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  10. I learn so much when I read your posts. I'm am relishing all that I am learning about haiku--from reading, writing, and studying. I'm working on my postcards to send out. It is a lovely tradition that I'm glad to take on.

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    1. Poor Linda Mitchell, in my reply to her comment above, probably got more instruction than she wanted, but you may want to look at The Haiku Foundation page link.

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  11. This so clearly expresses something about haiku that makes it difficult for me to write.... I ADORE figurative language! And that's not haiku. Thank you for giving me a post to come back to... and all 3 poems are wonderful. xo

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    1. I like to read figurative language, and I envy those who write it well, however, I can't write it without it striking me as false. I've been trying, especially since the Highlights Foundation poetry workshop I took. I'm not dead yet, so maybe it will come more naturally the more I practice?

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  12. Thanks for such a great explaation of the New Year Exchange. I like the following the dog into the deep wood.

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    1. Me, too. It leads to many more possibilities!

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  13. A great goal to complete the zodiac. I hope you make it.

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    1. I've got these three signs to go:
      2019 Pig
      2010 Rat
      2011 Ox

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  14. Diane, you are so clever and I always learn so much from your posts. The last image was splendid.

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Who will come out as the winner in the meeting of cat and dog?

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  15. Thank you for the two versions--I learn so much from you!

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    1. We all learn from each other! It's great to have a community.

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  16. Thanks for filling us in on this grand year we have before us with an earth dog and the elements of water, fire and wood–the gold I can leave aside.

    I do like your dog going
    "into
    the deep woods"

    Thanks Diane!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I shudder to think of the deep woods with today's hovering-around-zero temperatures!

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  17. Love the length of the dog's tongue. It looks like he/she is getting ready to savor a delicious morsel.

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    1. May your new year be one delicious morsel after another!

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  18. Happy 2018, Diane...my wife, the dog lover of the family, has been excited for months about this being the year of the dog!

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    1. We can only hope that 2018 brings a dog's earnest, yet joyous, approach to life.

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