Friday, June 2, 2017

Three Haiku from our Poet of the Northland Newcomer

On May 24 Duluth Dylan Fest celebrated Bob's 76th birthday with several events including a Poets of the Northland poetry reading and panel discussion in the Spirit of the North Theater inside the Fitger's Complex. One the readers that evening was Rich Olson of St. Paul, who afterwards sent the following email after I invited him to share some Haiku he had written. Olson, who does mail delivery by day, called himself the Poet of the Northland Newcomer, hence the title of this blog post.

Hello Ed,
You mentioned before the poetry event that you wanted me to send you a copy of the poem that I read at the event that evening. I apologize I didn’t send you a message sooner, and was wondering (with the week quickly winding down) if you still wanted me to fulfill that request. Let me know if you do, and I would be happy to do so.

I stayed in Duluth until the following morning, and, before leaving, took everyone’s advice and went to view Bill’s exhibit at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. I was there at 10 a.m. when the doors came open. I still have those images in my mind as I sit here. I wrote Bill this morning telling him how much it meant to me. I also said that even if there had been no poetry contest, and if the only artifact on display had been that small piece of paper that held the penciled lyrics to “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” that would have been reason enough to make the drive from St. Paul. And the other gems in his collection were, for me, more icing on the cake.

I must have been inspired by the trip, because this morning I wrote six haiku/senryus. Of these six, three dealt directly with my Duluth experiences. The first, “Mother Superior,” I dedicated to Bob, and all of the good people that I met while in Duluth. The second I wrote for Bill. It’s called, “A Short Poem for Bill Pagel.” And the last I wrote for John Bushey. That one, without too much additional originality, was called “A Short Poem for John Bushey.” A very short Bio was included below the poems to let the Poetry Soup crowd know who they were. On John’s I added an additional plug for his gofundme page which I found when I googled Zane’s name.


Mother Superior
Written by: Rich Olson 5/26/17

majestic waters
broke for his delivery
a legend was born


A Short Poem for Bill Pagel
Written by: Rich Olson 5/26/17

devoted keeper
of Bob’s “Precious Memories”
YOU…are noteworthy


A Short Poem for John Bushey
Written by: Rich Olson 5/26/17

Highway 61-
and those who follow its path-
will live forever

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Follow up note from Rich Olson, explaining why these are not technically Haiku:

I would be flattered to have you share my haikus/senryus in your blog. I still have a hard time categorizing what I’ve written as being one or the other. A haiku is supposed to deal with nature, while a Senryu deals with human nature (or so I am told). Often mine contain elements of both. So I’m left to flip a mental coin as to what I’m going to call it. The essential part in this form is the “juxtaposition.”

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In point of fact, this same technicality is why I received a critical note about my own Haiku, posted here on my original website in 1995. Whatever they be called, I am attracted by the short form.

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Meantime life goes on all around you. Whether it's thunder on the mountain or peace in the valley, enjoy it. 

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