clouded night 
faint stars surface in the bow wave

—Martin Gottlieb Cohen

"If you live near a beach, on dark nights you can find microscopic creatures flashing tiny sparks in the surf. These are probably dinoflagellates, tiny marine algae. It was Benjamin Franklin who first suggested, in 1753, that the sparks in the water might be produced by creatures too small to see with the naked eye. Sailors often see the ocean water glowing in the disturbed wake of a ship. " ... from a page about Bioluminescence.

Here's another more detailed explanation.

About the author: Martin Cohen was born in the South Bronx somewhere on Simpson Street, went to a Yeshiva on East Broadway and Canal Street, and then lived in the South of Brooklyn, the South of Long Island, The Southern Tier of Upstate New York, The South of Manhattan, and finally South Jersey in Egg Harbor.

Martin's e-mail address: martin1223 at comcast dot net

Martin also has a weblog.


Responses to the haiku for 30 July 2003 by Martin Gottlieb Cohen

    2003-07-30 20:34:27

    Very nice.

    paul m.
    2003-07-31 18:47:17

    I like what you are doing, but think I'd rather see "dinoflagellates" or "glowing dinoflagellates" or some shorter words :) instead of "faint stars". With the clouded sky, it comes off like poetic trickery; and also requires the attached explanation. I think a good haiku should stand on its own.

    H. Gene Murtha
    2003-07-31 19:24:29

    hello Martin,

    love your site, and I have to argee with Mr. Miller
    not that I feel that you need much help, since I've
    followed your haiku in the US, Japan, and
    translations by Serge Tome, for a couple of years

    Let me know if you're interested in performance

    I live about 8 miles south of May's Landing, in
    Buena, of Rt. 40

    2003-08-01 01:16:37

    Thanks Gene and paul for your comments. I think you're right:

    clouded night
    tiny algae glow in the bow wave


    Michael L. Evans (trailermike at charter dot net)
    2003-08-01 14:02:55

    Martin: Having been born & raised in San Diego
    I have seen these algae many times - so really
    enjoy this moment of yours.

    My only question on your new version, is the
    use of "tiny". I am not a marine biologist,
    but thought all algae were tiny - if so, might
    its use in the poem border on a redundancy?
    I think it is a good, solid, haiku without "tiny".

    clouded night
    algae glow in the bow wave

    Just food for thought!

    2003-08-01 18:14:29

    The piece might work better as haibun, the prose context preceding the haiku thus making the "stars" explicable. I don't think "tiny algae", though perhaps making it more factually accurate, improves the poem. The loss of the correspondence between the clouded sky and the starred sea would be unfortunate.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-08-01 20:17:54

    martin, each time i read your "about the author", my thoughts are in pursuit of where on "simpson street".

    within this piece, i see "pure unadulterated martin".

    martin, there is seemingly always "a hint of what's going on", in your creations.

    in your explanation, bears all the material you needed for this piece to be totally understood, however that is not the "martin way".

    martin, if you change now, i would become speechless, you have created a style that's your own.

    "clouded night
    faint stars surface in the bow wave"

    i've found myself continually contemplating, since the first time i read it.

    might i say, martin,
    "clouded night
    tiny algae glow in the bow wave",
    brings you down among the mortals.

    to my way of thinking this is not you, martin don't be so easily swayed.

    2003-08-01 22:23:19

    Michael I agree with you. I didn't mean to make this into a help list. It does seem redundant with "tiny" and your version best shows, I think, the extra ordinary moment of an extra ordinary thing.

    paul m.
    2003-08-04 15:01:51

    Hi Martin,

    I think the rewrite an excellent one! The moment is such a small (and as you say ordinary) one, yet I think it extrapolates into a much larger more powerful one as well. Quite beautiful and moving!

    Thanks for sharing

    2003-09-15 02:38:59

    clouded night
    algae glow in the bow wave

    F.D.R. Drive
    the sound of rain travels
    on the river

    Anyone want to renga?

    bob richardson (orgbob at webv dot net)
    2004-06-30 20:14:15

    foghorn -
    against the windows