Grant Savage/Masud Taj

grant x h-masud-taj-532-600

rainy day
on the floor a puzzle piece
of blue sky

Today a puzzle piece takes over.  It’s the perfect poem for today as the sun has relented a little and we are not sweltering, but upon my opening Taj’s masterful rendering of Grant’s poem, the sky has become blue again.

This time Taj received four poems and chose this one. I have no idea how his minds works to create such a thing of beauty, whether he ‘sees’ the haiku in this form from the start or whether it develops as he puts writing instrument to paper. I like to imagine his process, though I realize how useless it would be to try.

Except for the aura of peaceful concentration that must hover about him as he begins.

The poem itself, with its economy of words the nouns ― day, floor, piece, sky. This is where the master haiku writer shows up. The nouns are modified by only two words ― rainy and puzzle. Then two prepositions and an article. From these ‘word puzzle pieces’ describing what he saw, he lets us into the picture. He takes us out of one weather situation into another, possibly of the mind, a neat trick.

There’s a turn in the poem after the second line, and Taj picked that up and literally ‘turned’ the third line, making it look like a reflection. That says that this is a poem to reflect upon. It says remember those too-long summer days when we were (are) locked inside, and the things we do to make the day pleasant. This poem is all the stored boxed games of our youth. It is getting together with friends or family, it is competition on a grand play scale. It is what we can do instead of taking our mood from the weather, it is our ability to metaphorically make our own days sunny, and so of course, to stop puddling around in our ‘miseries’ and do something about our life in general. It is a haiku that reinforces what Rilke wrote: You must change your life.

That short last line does so much, in words, and now in this graceful rendering of the haiku. What I truly love about this poem and its beautiful interpretation is that both are brief, that artist and poet simply set out to do their job as artist and poet, but that they have done so much more.

That Taj is a magical poet in his own right would have given him insights that moved his hand and his mind to create such a moving piece to match this poem. That delightful physical expression of ‘rainy day’ falling so perfectly into the rest of the poem.

Grant D. Savage is an Ottawa poet and photographer.

H. Masud Taj is a roving poet and Adjunct Professor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University, Ottawa.



Philomene Kocher’s haiku/ H. Masud Taj calligraphy!

Just look at this calligraphy! Every once in a while someone will make an offer you can’t refuse… In this case poet/calligrapher/architect/professor (and more) Taj emailed that if I would send him a haiku from one of my haiku authors, he would rewrite it in calligraphy to put on my blog. Rose (1)

I sent him Philomene Kocher’s poem:

rose hips and roses and buds/ on the same bush/ August evening

I sent this one to him because another of her publishers, Marco Fraticelli, said it was one of his favourite haiku, and I think it is deserves to be portrayed through Taj’s art. .

Taj and Bruce Meyer co-authored Alphabestiary: A Poetry-Emblem Book (2011, Exile Editions). Taj will probably say that this post was not supposed to be about him, so I won’t go on about his careers and publishing history, all of which you can discover yourself on the internet. (Actually Taj, I would like to do this myself on the blog one day…) I will only say further that when he is able to join one of our Ottawa poetry critique groups in Ottawa, (he is often away in India and other far Eastern places…) we learn a lot from what he sees in a poem.

Philomene Kocher is another poet who will  seldom get up on a podium to say much about herself, but she is a sensitive writer who is concerned about writing good haiku, and works to introduce others to this form of poetry. She has spoken at conferences, and worked with seniors who have lost great chunks of their memory, finding new inroads to their minds through haiku, while helping them to express themselves through the form.

Her poem is the perfect one to be highlighted today. The calligraphy adds new dimensions to her observation about the rose bush, making us want to linger even longer with her words. Thank you Taj! Thank you Philomene!