A Haikunelle: A Japanese and French Poetic Synchronization

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After the positive response I received for my selection of five haiku in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day, I figured there might be an audience for my haikunelle. If you search for the form online, you likely won’t find an official definition of the haikunelle, but I imagined the form six years ago as a combination of the traditional Japanese haiku with the French villanelle. Each stanza of the villanelle (except for the final quatrain) is a complete haiku. The rhyme scheme still follows the traditional villanelle form, and the syllabic structure follows the haiku’s guidelines.

I have not given up on my series of color poems, but wanted to park here for one more day. I have the “yellow” sonnet complete and ready to post, and I have begun working on the “green” poem while nodding off in bed at the close of day. This allows me the opportunity to showcase two wonderful poetic forms and reference Christian Wiman, a well-known poet and editor of Poetry magazine. The line that became the inspiration for this haikunelle comes from his book, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.

“I waste too much time in the little lightless caverns of my own mind.”

Christian Wiman, from My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer

If you’re like me, an internal processor, then you know what it is to spend too much time in the caverns of your own mind. I also know that spending too much time there isn’t healthy for me (or my family). Let this poem be an invitation to come out of that cave and into the light of day.

Caverns of My Mind

Vincent H. Anastasi - 2015

I waste too much time
imprisoned in these lightless
caverns of my mind.

This striving to find
leaves me naught but vain excess.
I waste too much time

plumbing depths to climb
yet unearth only endless
caverns of my mind:

scope of hope confined
despite this seeming largess.
I waste too much time

spinning paltry rhymes,
my conscience seeking redress —
caverns of my mind.

Seeing, I am blind
to what no thought might address;
I waste too much time —
caverns of my mind.

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