PACE Global Haiku • Fall 2008
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Melanie McLay

Noticing a Fly

Melanie McLay

Haiku Roundtable Fall 2008

As I read through my collection in search of inspiration for a title, I reminisced back on the book we read in class this semester, Zen Art for Meditation by Stewart W. Holmes. I remember that my haiku

piano recital
noticing a fly,
my finger slips

was a response to Tenet 9 from the book: “Being a spectator while one is also a participant spoils one’s performance.” As I reread my haiku, I realized that out of context the middle line, “noticing a fly,” had multiple meanings to the art of haiku-writing. First, it implied what I had originally intended—that simple distractions can interrupt one’s performance. On the other hand, though, I became aware of the importance of that fly—a miniscule creature—in creating a haiku moment. This reminded me of yet another one of Holmes’s tenets, Tenet 2: “Everything exists according to its own nature. Our individual perceptions of worth, correctness, beauty, size, and value exist inside our heads, not outside them.” When this thought crossed my mind, it dawned on me that this was essentially my main goal for haiku writing this semester—to focus on noticing the world around me, to focus on noticing all of the haiku opportunities that surrounded me. In my collection, I have included a handful of haiku which represent some of my favorite “haiku moments” from the semester.

star gazing
the brightest one:

in the air
down feathers
from your blanket

his eyes
straight through me
September winds


gazing at my cross
you imagine me

late to work
stopping to watch
a snail cross


our talk
over the stove—

six inches shorter
the hairbrush
on my neck


piano recital
noticing a fly,
my finger slips

stood up
Oh well!
two desserts for me

lights flicker off:
the cat’s eyes

for a moment
I’m Peter Pan:
broken arm


Susan Lucci’s monologue
iron marks
on your trousers

church bus trip
billboard after billboard:


© 2008, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.