(M.J.E. / Writings / Haiku / 1 / Notes)

Notes on the Verses (1 - 6)

            Moon waning:
                Lonely nights

      The exact date this came to me is uncertain, but the limitation of before 28 April, 1996 is based on a mention of this verse made on this date in a letter to a friend. The thought behind the verse perhaps occurred to me several times over some weeks or months before I actually thought of writing a verse about it. At this time I lived in suburban Melbourne, in the suburb of Camberwell, and found myself frequently walking the streets or riding my bicycle to go to late-closing takeaway food shops to get a late meal, and the suburban houses were all dark and silent, and most shops closed, too; and I've often thought that suburbs late at night must be one of the loneliest places around, especially if you are on foot, and can thus immerse yourself in the feel of it. (I didn't have a car at this time.)
      On walks such as these I would often notice things such as the evening star, the planet Venus, or the current phase of the moon, and such heavenly phenomena can almost seem companionable - and I've always thought that seeing things by moonlight (rare in the suburbs because of lights, but occasionally seen) has a special, wonderful magic to it. After the full moon, the moon starts to wane and rises later and later in the night. After a week or so, it is rising so late that I am less likely to see it during night walks, and the night seems colder and darker and more lonely, somehow.
      I think it was thoughts on this that gave rise to this verse.

            A million T.V.s:
                a million minds possessed
                by the same thoughts, at the same time.

      The thought behind this is not mine, although I have only ever read or heard of this thought once: I have a vague memory of reading years ago in a book about occult philosophy that television has a deleterious effect on the astral plane because of the fact that so many viewers who are watching television are, because of the program, thinking similar thoughts, feeling similar feelings, at any given moment, and because (in the opinion of the writer) those thoughts and feelings were often of a negative character.
      (According to Theosophy and other occult or mystical philosophies, the astral plane is the lowest spiritual plane, which is sort of parallel to the physical plane, and everything that happens in the physical plane is mirrored by parallel events in the astral which reflect the essence of those events. The astral plane is often regarded as the level which is dominated by feelings as against rational thought or physical events.)
      With regard to the astral effects of television, the theory was that the fact of so many people's thoughts or feelings following the same path while watching the same program has a hugely amplifying effect, a little like the way an army marching over a bridge can cause its collapse if they don't break step. As I read the concept originally, the simultaneity of all those people's thinking of the same thoughts was of central importance; it was not merely a matter of all those viewers having the same thoughts, but possibly at different times. Thus, if we accept (for the sake of argument) that the material shown on television is often of a harmful character (surely not stretching the imagination too much), then it might be preferable if people were watching it on video, in their own time, and not simultaneously with millions of other viewers as a direct broadcast at a specific time. The material might still be just as undesirable, but at least the strength of the pattern would be broken up as its effects were scattered at different times amongst the population.
      I do not have the faintest idea where I read this concept; but it was in the back of my mind when I thought of this verse.
      Just as an interesting speculation: if this theory has any truth to it, it does give the controllers of mass media frightening power over the populace - and one would be tempted to think that the controllers regularly abuse this power. Can this perhaps go some way towards explaining why the world is as it is? I'm often puzzled as to why life and human society go the way they do; but this would make a horrible kind of sense. Perhaps it needs to be looked into.

3, 4.
            A mosquito's drill,
                half a room away,
                yet boring into your ear.

            A mosquito whining -
            turn on the light:
            mosquito has vanished.

      Based on personal experiences at various times of my life, which surely everyone must have also experienced. On a summer evening late at night, when all is quiet, a mosquito even across the room can sound quite loud; and if you hear it after you have turned out the light, and you turn it on to try to find and kill the mosquito, it is suddenly quiet, and cannot be found anywhere - until you turn out the light again.

            Such a lonely night;
                but there's the dusk,
                and the trees.

      This thought came to me at sunset on the date cited near the corner of Camberwell Rd. and Trafalgar Rd., Camberwell, close to where I lived at the time. The dark silhouettes of trees in an empty block there suggested this to me.
      I suspect it was really my state of mind that was lonely. But certain evenings can seem lonely, even though this might merely be a mirror for my own moods, or my perception of them filtered through my own moods.
      Haiku traditionally are fairly detached, make no emotional judgements, and merely observe, and perhaps make subtly symbolic connections between disparate things. But clearly some of my verses, including this one, very much reflect my own moods.
      I can't help that: I can only write verses the way they come to me. If purists object, then think of them as haiku-like verses, not as proper, authentic haiku.

            Midnight: half-moon tilted,
            setting amid the trees;
                life is half over - yet nearly gone.

      This verse came to me at about midnight in the car-park behind the shops on the eastern side of Burke Rd., Camberwell, on my way to and from a pizza shop to buy my dinner. It was suggested by the sight of the half-moon setting behind the silhouetted buildings and trees towards the west. It seems to be one of a number of verses based on my observations of the heavenly bodies during walks I take at night; I have been very nocturnal for many years now, so this situation tends to occur fairly often for me.

Michael Edwards,
Victoria, Australia.

E-mail me about these verses.

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Original text copyright (C) 1996, 1997 (verses), 2000, 2001 (notes), by Michael Edwards.

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    Writings by Michael Edwards
            ( How I discovered haiku and came to write them myself )
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                Notes on the Verses
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            Page 4
                Notes on the Verses

This page created on Monday, 24 April, 2000;
last modified on Sunday, 30 December, 2001.