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.
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:
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!
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!