A Ribbon of Silver Thread

First published in Woodnotes #27, Winter 1995, page 49. Read the book in PDF form on the Haiku Foundation website.

A Ribbon of Silver Thread by Joseph Kirschner. Little Stone Books, 1995, 32 pages, paperback, 5½ by 8½ inches. $5.95 from Little Stone Books, 60 North Main Street, Johnstown, Ohio 43031 [address no longer correct]. A Ribbon of Silver Thread presents 20 haiku written by Kirschner from 1985 to 1989, all quiet and unassuming. Of greater note, perhaps, is his finely written introduction and epilogue, in which he traces his growing understanding of haiku, both as poetry and as a spiritual awareness practice. I particularly like his admonition that “form should be the handmaid of poetry, not its master”—his poems do indeed show attention to content over form. “Haiku is about the ordinary,” Kirschner reminds us. “Yet, paradoxically, it reaches beyond the ordinary.” Here’s an example:

shivering in bright sun,

I scrape morning frost;

a robin watches . . .