wheelchair tai chi
a dragonfly
flexes its wings


13 Responses

  1. Alan Summers Says:

    .

    wheelchair tai chi
    a dragonfly
    flexes its wings

    —LUCY WHITEHEAD

    A lovely life affirming haiku! I'm also reminded of Chiyo-ni:

    蜻蛉釣り今日はどこまで行ったやら

    tombo tsuri kyou wa doko made itta yara

    Chiyo-ni
    (福田 千代尼; 1703 – 1775)

    Haikai verse composed around 1722

    dragonfly fishing:
    how far will it be today
    that we might go!

    Trans/version: Alan Summers

    .

  2. Alan Summers Says:

    I wonder if you were actually a banded demoiselle, from the wilds of Essex?

    If it was a dragonfly maybe it was one of the, hawkers like the Southern Hawker or Emperor Dragonfly which are the most spectacular. :-)

  3. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Ah, unfortunately I can't identify types of dragonfly. Something I should remedy. We do get some beautiful ones here though!

  4. Alan Summers Says:

    I've bought regional guides to dragonflies and damselflies for Bristol region for instance. And I'd recommend this one for your area! :-)

    The Dragonflies of Essex
    Benton, E.
    ISBN 10: 0905637143 / ISBN 13: 9780905637143
    Published by Essex Field Club, London, 1988

    It could be worth the budget if you look around on eBay, Abebooks etc…

    The dark agency of Amazon have this 138 page booklet for four quid if you look for this copy which has a "9" for some reason. :-)

    THE DRAGONFLIES OF ESSEX: 9

  5. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Thanks so much for the recommendations, Alan!

  6. Lynne Jambor Says:

    Lucy

    I have just seen your poem and simply love it! I am putting together a small e-book on tai chi and qigong and wonder if I could include your poem . If it is a possibility, I would need to know how you would like the attribution to be done – your name or something more as this looks like a workshop poem. Thank you in advance for considering this matter.
    lynne jambor – lynnejambor@gmail.com 604-790-6658 Vancouver BC Canada

    If it is aposs

  7. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Thanks Alan! That's a lovely one by Chiyo-ni.

  8. Alan Summers Says:

    Yes, the Japanese is lovely, and it's difficult to relay that into a different language.

    ***

    "Chiyo-ni is writing about her dead son. You can feel her sorrow as she uses a simple line, one that that she must have used many times while he was alive when he would run with his friends and she would wonder where he was. With him gone, the innocent question of his whereabouts takes a sad and wistful tone, strong enough to bring tears to your eyes.

    The question takes on a double meaning when we consider that the path through the afterlife for children was said to be an extremely difficult one, even with the help of Jizo-sama, the Buddhist saint with a red bib you see dotted across Japan even today who is said to help children in the afterlife in their journey to be reborn. How far has he made it in the afterlife?"

    David LaSpina (2018)
    An Italian-American in Japan. A photographer, father, lover of haiku, and eater of natto.

  9. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Thanks for sharing that Alan. I wouldn't have realised she was writing about her dead son…That definitely adds a whole other dimension to it. I keep meaning to read some more of Chiyo-ni's work. I've loved what I've read of her so far!

  10. Alan Summers Says:

    .
    Because the Japanese language (several systems not just one like our single one) is complex pictograms and other aspects, more can be locked into a character or two.

    Yes, heartwrenching haikai verse.

  11. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Absolutely!

  12. Lesley Says:

    Lucy, I just walked in the door after tai chi class and read this!
    It's all about movement, isn't it, regardless of one's limitations, and the image of dragonfly wings works so well.

  13. Lucy Whitehead Says:

    Hi Lesley, it really is all about movement (and moving outside)! It makes such a difference. Glad you like the haiku.

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