little toadstool
leans one-legged by the road
drunken hitch-hiker

//

I have looked a little way down a rabbit hole this morning. Before posting a poem, I will search to see if it exists anywhere else by googling a line. Thus, for the post from Dragonflies by Yong Shu Hoong, I searched for his description of a walking stick, “leans lone-legged”. It returned no results – perhaps a gratifying endorsement of Yong’s originality… Google, meanwhile, suggested that I might rather have been searching for “leans one-legged”, which returns precisely one result – also, funnily enough, in a poem, on hikoo.com. Thus I accidentally stumbled upon (and have now destroyed) a near-Googlewhack (it doesn’t match the strictest definition).

Having read one haiku by ‘lordfanny1723’, I thought I might read another on the same site – after all, they are very short. Then, in contrast to the solitary beauty of the one-legged toadstool, I was overwhelmed with profusion. This user managed to add 3,231 haikus to hikoo.com between 28th November 2011 and 11th June 2013 – a huge number, and an appreciable proportion of the total haikus currently on hikoo.com (18,043). In fact, there has barely been any activity since 11th June 2013. This intrigued me – what had happened to the prolific lordfanny1723? Google reveals that he (I believe it’s a he) is now active on twitter, and posting multiple haiku a day there – under the name Pipzi Williams, to whom I have thus ascribed this haiku in my title. I am almost disoriented by this effervescence of short observations…

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6.

So we really like the colour of the wood.
Or pause to marvel at the pearl lodged
between Grandfather’s lips – supposedly
to illuminate footpaths in the netherworld.

I peer at the clean, pressed shirt and wonder:
Is this the same one he wore to my brother’s wedding?
Then exclaim his hair hasn’t turned all-white or fallen out –
in joyful premonition on my generation’s behalf.

Red candles burn, as we celebrate
the passing of Grandfather at a ripened age:
92 years, and sufficient months to surpass
even his own mother’s longevity. But

Does it mattes? Death comes
and we go. If we imagine it is mechanical,
no tears would be required at this funeral.
Still I regret I couldn’t wring out more woe

As if there should be only one prescribed response
for a filial grandson: A raging sadness enough
to rattle the petals off the wreaths. Not ambling
after the departing cortege on steady feet.

*

8.

Grandfather’s walking stick
(the one I’d bought him)
leans lone-legged
against a corner of his room…

I figure, if I stare long enough,
even the floor would ripple
like the skin of a pond of water
from the dipping point.

[Read in The Viewing Party, by Yong Shu Hoong, published by Ethos Books.]