THE HAIBUN GALLERY 31 March — a Thursday feature

hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman & Shobhana Kumar

31st March

Michael Windsor McClintock was born on March 31, 1950 in Los Angeles, California. McClintock received his education at Occidental College and the University of Southern California, where he specialized in Asian Studies, English and American Literature, and Information Sciences. In the late 1960s, he was the Assistant Editor of Haiku Highlights. During the 1970s, he was the Assistant Editor of Modern Haiku and also edited the American Haiku Poets Series and Seer Ox: American Senryu Magazine. In 2001 McClintock retired as Principal Librarian and Administrator for the County of Los Angeles Public Library. He has written for the "Tanka Cafe" column for the Tanka Society of America Newsletter, and edited The New American Imagist series for Hermitage West. His collections of haiku, senryu, tanka, and other poetry include Light Run (Shiloh, 1971), Man With No Face (Shelters Press, 1974), and Maya: Selected Poems (Seer Ox, 1976). His work has been anthologized in each of the three editions of The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel (1974, 1986, 1999). The Tanka Anthology, edited by McClintock, Pamela Miller Ness, and Jim Kacian, was released in December 2003 by Red Moon Press.

Whales At Santa Cruz

.In Memory of LaDona Valencia Cook . This place she loved above all others on the coast, at this same time of year, the fall. We came each year to watch the whales. She was small and from the gulls she had learned how to lean forward and balance herself against the blast of wind. She was propped on pillows and sitting up in bed when with that same motion she leaned forward and died. I have waited for darkness; it is illegal to release human remains here. I am told three hundred whales will pass this rock point tonight. As they pass, they will sing. I have heard before the voices of these creatures, on recordings; I have sampled their grammar and measured the entropy of their phrasing: the clicks and squeals, the unpredictable trilling, the small chirps like those in a twilit garden at the borders of hearing. I have come to a few conclusions about those songs, their theme and sequence, but they are improbable conclusions. The kelp forest stirs in the neap tide, the wind is light. A giant's sleeping breath fills the space above the sea. the emptied urn— a good size for holding flowers come spring . Michael McClintock first published in Modern Haiku, 34.1, Winter/Spring 2003


Two things that stand out in Michael's work are-perception (the eye through which he observes) and the way that language comes to his aid in presenting the view (in this case the metaphor in 'lean forward'). Consider the pace in this haibun and how it shifts to capture time and space with mere paragraphing. That's how powerful the link and shift is in this piece.

Pandora's curiosity drove her to release the lid of the pithos gifted to her by the Greek gods and the moment she did that, all the miseries and maladies of our world were thrust upon humankind. However one thing was left behind in the pithos (urn) -hope. Where do you find hope? What is the most unusual place you have discovered it?

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly journal.


265 views72 comments