First published in Woodnotes #7, Autumn 1990, page 28.
Hundreds of Wishes by Francine Porad. Fifty-six haiku with six illustrations; 24 pages, 5½ by 8½ inches. $5.00 postpaid from the author at Vandina Press, P.O. Box 1551, Mercer Island, Washington, 98040.
Come along, if you will, on a trip to Tokyo. Bring your eyes and ears and dreams. Climb the stone steps of a Buddhist temple. Record those intensely felt breaths of wonder when the universe falls into place. Catch those whispered moments of oneness, when the dried wing of a dragonfly blows at last with the falling leaves from the nook of a cool stone wall. Then you will feel—with your eyes, your ears, and your heart—the wonder of a hundred haiku wishes . . .
tied to the bush
hundreds of wishes
(Meiji Shrine, Tokyo)
Francine Porad’s new book, Hundreds of Wishes, is a collection of longings, an upward spiral through nature and life. Each poem flutters in the wind like a Buddhist prayer flag, flapping, flashing, filling our ears with sound, our eyes with dancing shades. Each wish is a longing for permanence in a transient world, a grasp at eternity in the confines of now.
lucky penny high in the cherry tree
left on the car’s floorboard a boy singing
to spot again with his mouth full
Replete with the author’s understated brush sketches, these haiku and senryu comprise a book long enough to satisfy, short enough not to overwhelm. Included are two sequences of six poems each (“Cosa Contenta” and “Bumbershoot”), and forty-four individual poems printed cleanly on mauve paper.
lilac buds rain finds
affirming the earth the ripplemarks
and its fullness carved in red rock
Many of these poems are familiar friends, having been reprinted from eighteen different publications, including Woodnotes. The poems span the times of day, the seasons of the year, and a variety of places from Francine’s travels—Mazatlan, Flagstaff, Kanab, Yellowstone, Seattle, Tokyo. Yet most of the poems speak of home, those places we all know just around the corner or at the edge of town.
hospital café snowmelt all around—
two Santas still an icicle core
sharing a meal in the golden spruce
Francine has now shared seven consistently fine collections of haiku and senryu. Perhaps Hundreds of Wishes is her best yet. She offers solace in the midst of reality, a taste of the real in the solace of her poetry. Ever upward she spirals on the wings of dreams. Join her on her journey.