Friday, June 4, 2010


on my forehead
the priest's cold thumb
--John McDonald; Scotland

John took the kigo and ran with it along a religious path ; ‘ashes’ his Line One, presents a dramatic introduction to his poem; then, he reins in our interest by skillfully placing a pivot at Line Two; should we read ‘ashes on my forehead’; or should we read ‘on my forehead the priest’s cold thumb’, which is the fragment and which the phrase, he leaves that to the discretion of his reader.
His Line One states for us the season as well as the age old tradition with just one word and two syllables; he adds the appeal of the sense of touch in Lines Two and Three, both as feeling and warning.
Ashes; coming out of heat, coming out of fire, marks the penitent believer, down cold; with authority, in the person of ‘the priest’.
How does this quale affect the persona? What does he feel? What is he thinking? All of these questions he leaves unanswered; he prefers instead to present to us an instant as a surprise; a surprise, which he leaves for last, and introduces in Line Three ‘the priest's cold thumb’
But the appeal is not only to the sense of touch, the appeal to the sense of sight comes with the marking on the forehead, and the appeal to the mind in the interpretation as is set by age old traditional meanings; like the biblical hand writing on the wall, here is the thumb marking the forehead; it is time that we are cooled, before we return to the fires of life and warmth; through a process of penitence to renewal.
For those of us who like to count syllables, John presents his expose in ten syllables; encapsulating season, tradition, sight, touch; and engaging us in the meanings of repentance, hope and resurrection.

Well done John; we look forward to more of your endearing haiku.

Thanks to all seventeen writers who made CKK11 a success.

Links to 2 ‘ashes’ at Ash Wednesday photos
more...Ash Wednesday
more...Ash Wednesday

--gillena cox
coordinator; Caribbean Kigo Kukai

the theme for the kukai was 'ashes'

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