Pathways: Restful Meditations

First published in Woodnotes #26, Autumn 1995, page 48.

Pathways: Restful Meditations by Kamishiwa Sensei, Gary Crounse, translator. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 1995, 64 pages, paperback, 5 by 6 inches. $6.95 in bookstores, or write to Gibbs Smith, Publisher, P.O. Box 667, Layton, Utah 84041 [address no longer correct]. With its inviting design and reflective photographs [by Rosalie Blakey Wardell], this book’s loveliness belies the oddness of the haiku, all translated in four to six lines. More accurately, these poems are “restful meditations,” but the book’s subtitle does identify the poems as “Zen haiku.” Pathways is easy to recommend for its beauty and design, and for its spirituality, but not as a book of haiku. Here’s the only poem that comes anywhere close to an understanding of the form:

Spring again,

The enthusiasm of the cherry blossoms,

But strangely—

There is never any fruit.