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Geraldine Hartman's HAIKU REFLECTIONS is a marvelous book for anyone who treasures the traditional haiku form of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllable count. The poems all contain kigo, or seasonal references, in the grand tradition of this poetic form. The collection progresses through spring, summer, autumn, and winter in a journey that describes not only nature but the author's internal and external passage through the year.
The poems are both delicate and precise, as all haiku should be. There is not a wasted syllable in this volume, with the imagery always crystal clear, whether describing color, scent, movement, weather, foliage, animals, or the thoughts engendered in the mind and soul of the author. Ms. Hartman captures the essence of what our eyes and minds too often dismiss: a weathered gazebo, lemonade, a thunderstorm, rain, a mop and bucket, a bridge, or a simple act of kindness.
Each poem is thoughtfully tendered, and the poems may be read back to back, or they may be read individually, allowing the imagery to sink deeper so that the various images may crystallize in new and insightful ways. Indeed, haiku always invites the reader to savor a single thought or scene and its beauty and fragility, and Ms. Hartman has given us such beauty in every one of her offerings. They are truly reflections that call readers to a deeper stillness and appreciation of the moment.
The haiku in this collection cover a wide range of emotions: happiness, disappointment, doubt, acceptance, joy, and meditative stillness. In detailing these emotions so carefully, the author, as stated above, lovingly chronicles her journey through the year. And yet her journey is the pilgrimage of everyone, and to a larger extent, our journey through life itself.
As the last haiku in the book implies, the collection reveals "our own path in life" and reminds us that "nature remains through all change." HAIKU REFLECTIONS artfully calls readers to reflect on their own paths as they follow and observe the path of the author. This book is a poetic gem and is highly recommended.