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triveni spotlight: 31st january

triveni spotlight A FEATURE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY! hosts: Teji Sethi and Kala Ramesh GUEST EDITOR: Michael Dylan Welch



with the numbers

my daughter knows—

the stars counted


Gary Hotham Woodnotes #31, Autumn 1997


About the poem:

How many of us thought we could count the stars when we were children? It was indeed possible at a certain age, limited by our own experience not just of words and numbers but what little we knew of the stars. I am reminded of Jerry Kilbride’s jisei or death haiku: “terminally ill / when I was a kid I tried /to count all the stars.” With the young it is possible to count them! Gary’s poem speaks of a childhood wonder that we should hold onto as adults. This also reminds me of a favourite quotation from Rachel Carson: “If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later

years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” This is the spirit of haiku.


Note by the Editor

Woodnotes triveni spotlight


by Michael Dylan Welch


From 1989 to 1997, in various capacities, I edited or helped to edit Woodnotes, the quarterly journal of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, and in 1996 I took on the journal independently before replacing it with my new journal Tundra. I lived in the San Francisco area for more than a dozen years and was active with HPNC from its first year in 1989 until I moved north to Seattle in 2002. Working on Woodnotes with such coeditors as vincent tripi, Ebba Story, Christopher Herold, and Paul O. Williams was a fine education in the art of haiku. The following are selections of favourite haiku and senryu from the journal’s 31 issues, with brief commentary. These poems are expressions of wonder, or as Billy Collins once described haiku, they exhibit “existential gratitude.” In return, I am deeply grateful for the thousands of poems published in Woodnotes over the years, and the hundreds of poets who contributed to the journal’s success. * * * * * This month is going to be a treat for our members. _()_ Thank you so much, Michael.

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4 Comments


Billie Dee
Billie Dee
Feb 01, 2023

Countable infinity, such a concept. This poem is such so richly layered in meaning(s). A great way to finish up your strong presence here this month, Michael. Many thanks.


---Billie


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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Jan 31, 2023

Your comment is so very beautiful, Michael. What a grand way to end your month of haiku. Most impressed. Thank you so much. We couldn't have asked for more. Each haiku had something to give. And this haiku by Gary is simply breathtaking. _()_

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This took me back to the days I stood on the balcony and gazed at the sky. Also to the not-so-far-off past when my daughter counted the stars excitedly.

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Kanji Dev
Kanji Dev
Jan 31, 2023

This just made me smile, so beautifully crafted!

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