A new collection, arrhythmia: haiku by Bruce H. Feingold takes us on the adventure of the poet’s life and renews our spirit with acceptance, gratitude, and wonder for our own journeys. Feingold, a psychologist, and award-winning haikuist of three other collections, has created an artful volume that includes his photography of Diocletian’s Palace in Croatia on the cover.
The poet begins his volume with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that prepares us for his adventure: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
His haiku/senryu collection is not only about his illness, fear, sadness, grief, and recovery, but it’s the sum of his life. It includes joyful moments with family, and memories of stunning travel experiences, such as to Mount Everest and to the Sun Gate of South America. His poetry is also about the wonders of daily life that we find in nature. Haiku allows us to crystallize our moments, as Feingold’s writing bountifully does, with its succinct, simple language, and elegant musings.
This volume, divided into sections, features very skillful wordplay in one-word poems, one and three-line haiku, and intriguing layout of other poems.
For example, in the senryu below, Feingold’s political beliefs are juxtaposed with the experience of his illness and with nature’s imagery:
arrhythmia the unraveling of the republic
we discuss the migration
This simple image below jars us:
Who among us has not felt the often cold and daunting experience of receiving healthcare?
the doctor’s quick sketch
of an aorta
There is nature’s symbolism in Feingold’s haiku. Below, the yellow chrysanthemum symbolizes sorrow. Waking in a hospital room, he experiences:
dawn’s first light
in a vase
Feingold’s sadness and grief is palpable in the haiku below. (A redwood tree symbolizes vitality and longevity):
the solitary walks
The poet reveals his whimsy in his one-word poems with a nod to Freud: sexcessful and egostestical. Further, f(ailing)s can speak to us on more than one level, in thinking about our own lives, in a psychological sense.
My favorite section in the book is “open sky,” the last one. It features poems of happiness, such as the ones about his son’s wedding. There is also the poet’s solace in knowing that a part of him will remain on earth when he eventually reaches his life’s end:
my son mans
the barbecue grill
His simple word choice in nouns and verbs is consummate throughout his poetry. He speaks of the healing heart, both literally and figuratively, of hope, and of aging with clarity and openness. While it is unsettling to have a device placed in your body, such as a defibrillator, he nonetheless comes to terms with it:
the quietude of
After reading this book, we come away with a feeling of gratitude for the gift of life, a renewed sense of the need to live in the moment, and oneness with nature. We are mindful of the healing nature of haiku, and that as we age, we achieve heartfelt wisdom, philosophers in own right.
how little rain it takes
for hope to grow
Feingold’s attractive collection of carefully-crafted poetic treasures is highly recommended for beginning and experienced poets alike. I will read it again and again.
To order a signed copy of arrhythmia, (copyright 2020), you may contact the author at email@example.com.
Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.