Urban Haiku

These impressions follow the format of the haiku, which contains 17 syllables in 3 lines (5/7/5).  These 2 pairs of sites presented stark contrasts to me—contrasts of meaning, aesthetics, emotions.  These spaces are like Biblical texts that speak to different people in different ways.  So, these are impressions and not judgments.

Jan 16th1

A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Goldsworthy’s “Garden of Stones”



Gray sky    Gray glass                    Gray

saplings perched in granite          Parched

Parched                                             with no beauty

Louis Armstrong 4




All that Jazz, with riffs

fleet and deep, sleek and sweet.  This

is Louis, Dolly.

Jan 16th

The National Sept. 11 Memorial (under construction)




heroes and victims

United Nations Peoples

vengeance, no                 no peace

African Burial Ground 3

The African Burial Ground National Monument



.               lovingly buried

.                         indomitable spirit(s)

.               wailing and walking

And, now that I have mangled an Asian art form, let me do likewise to a Western form.

Picasa 2013 NYC Classmates1

There once was a class from PSR

Who were immersed in New York with no car

For two weeks they flaneured

They hobbled and blogged and observed

Now back at home

Still counting and twitching

Devin quickly repaired to a bar

6 responses to “Urban Haiku

  1. Pingback: Urban Haiku « svswval

  2. Thank you, Frances for the haikus and the great little poem at the end of this post. 🙂

  3. As a reflection on your blog, Frances, I would like to interject that your haiku appears revealing of our ability as flaneurs to capture the essense of actual exploration of historical spectacle as we tasted and inhaled New York City streets. Your continuation with a poetic rendition of how we performed “out and about” in the CIty was humorous and replete with accurate descriptions of our dip or “immersion” as PSR likes to think of it, and foray into the mysteries of memorials and memorialization sites in an Urbsan Setting.
    I continue with reflections of your reference to the Louis Armstrong home we had toured during our trek through New York. I was fascinated by his forward thinking taping of many conversations he held in his home. It was as if I were there witnessing these (his) conversations with publicist, friends and musical artists he knew from a bygone era. I was truly impacted by the Marcel Proust “Le temps perdu” moments which came flooding in when I heard Louis’ music, re-igniting vivid memories as a way of sculpting long-forgotten childhood memories. How do I describe the importance this artist held for me as a small child, witnessing the frivolity of my parents and their relatives and friends as they listened and moved to the cadence of his soulful musical escapades. I was reawakened to happy childhood moments long forgotten in the morass of unusually over-constructed lives of responsibility replete with national concerns about economics and violence.
    It was an adult realization of what had seemed to my “child” as overly disciplinarian parents who suddenly became real persons in the memorial reality of their moments of escape into happiness in the music of my childhood and MR. LOUIS ARMSTRONG. These memories are called back through a shared moment of Mr. Armstrong’s life.
    I was also deeply moved by the chosen abode of this famous artist. He chose to live as he chose to play his music, in a way that regular hardworking people coudl share.and enjoy. When we walked through this simple, somewhat overly decorated refuge from long, enduring “road trips”,
    I marvelled at all of the questions he had answered iwth his life and living. My Dad passed 16 months ago, but I wish I could have shared this precious moment iwth him.

  4. Frances well done, as I have just completed a poetry class and we covered Haikus……”real swell you did, real swell”

  5. Dave Sandberg – so you Frances! As always “deeply immersed” and so refelctive – almost incarnational of the experience.

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