May 13, 2014 § 14 Comments


blackbirds in the rain

their voices disembodied

by the old tin roof


Photo courtesy Chad Gordon Higgins


§ 14 Responses to virtual

  • Blackbirds in the rain, a lovely image. I was sat on the bus yesterday and the smell of cut grass came to me, I really love the different smells and images of the seasons and your words really evoke the beauty of nature….
    Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      Yes I know what you mean about those smells and images. It feels good to embrace what is out there!

  • Muddletation says:

    I love this one 🙂

  • pi314chron says:

    Ahh! Blackbirds in the rain…………the old tin roof — soooo evocative!!
    So far the “disembodied” has eluded my understanding but when the blinders have been removed, I KNOW I’m going to love this one!!


    • Rachael Charmley says:

      I’ll tell you what I was alluding to if you like, but not understanding might make it more memorable 🙂
      And thank you for your lovely comment. As always, much appreciated!

      • pi314chron says:

        You’re very kind to take the time to “unpack” this one for me! Help me know how all the parts fit together, if you will. The image of the blackbirds in the rain is clear enough, and the old tin roof on “something” (??) in some way is the instrument of doing what (??) to the blackbirds” voices. I understand the meaning of the verb “disembody.” Where I have trouble, I guess, is that the birds’ VOICES are disembodied. It would seem to me that voices do not HAVE bodies. I’m missing something here. HELP! 😛

        • Rachael Charmley says:

          I think your response is a really good one, and you’ve highlighted the way that a good haiku should lead us round in circles – in the Zen way – if we don’t move outside our conceptual framework. This is hard for me to explain! I can unpack it but not put it back together. I think that might be one of the functions of a haiku?
          The blackbird’s voice comes from it’s body, but the sound of the rain makes it hard for us to detect where the voice is coming from. Hence the disembody idea. Having said that, birds don’t sing in the rain. So…
          I can only say I wanted to express that things cannot can explained by intellectual rational understanding, but are limited by it. So, it’s an invitation to think ‘outside the box’ in the way that Zen philosophy would encourage.
          I’m not sure this has been any help at all! 🙂

  • Miranda Stone says:

    How do you do it?! How do you keep creating these bits of perfection, Rachael? This is my favorite so far, I believe, and seeing as how I love your other haiku poetry, it’s a hard choice to make, but this one–a stunning example of what a haiku should be.

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      Thank you! I was aware I wasn’t always making that necessary shift in perspective/ consciouness in the last line that should bring the reader up short. Maybe that’s why you like it!
      It’s a difficult one, as there seems to be a lot of contemporary haiku out there that doesn’t end in this way. It’s surely crucial to the form…

      • Miranda Stone says:

        I’m guilty of not making that perspective shift in the last line as well. Sometimes I can pull it off, but other times it’s a real struggle.

  • Rachael Charmley says:

    You’re doing great, Miranda. People think haiku are easy. Good ones aren’t 🙂

  • pi314chron says:

    Hmmmm…I think we’re going to have a “disconnect” on this one. Haiku are about “sensation” — what can be experienced through our senses, not our thinking or intellectual processes as in “thinking outside the box.” To me, opinion only, that one word “disembodied” prevents me from experiencing the sensations you experienced (or imagined) and sends me off in the direction of puzzle solving. Poetry has been defined as “…the best words in the best order,” and few could argue that this does not apply to haiku as well.
    You are a dazzling haiku poet and I value you as a friend and love your haiku.
    But “disembodied” jangles every haiku/poetry nerve I have. Maybe I need stronger medication! 🙂

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      We could agree to disagree, I suppose, but remember I have been writing haiku for maybe two months – you, I believe, for many years.
      I think it’s possible I need to get back to basics here. Traditional haiku (basho, etc) clearly use the process of sensation; the intellect, by definition, has no place or role to play. Is this right?
      Would another word instead of ‘disembodied’ work for you if it didn’t involve the intellectual/thinking process? The idea behind the word was that the bird’s song appeared to be coming from somewhere other than the bird because the rain on the roof was making it hard for the listener to locate it accurately. I think I could find another word, and it would make the haiku simpler and probably more graceful.
      From the point of view of Zen, this haiku simply does not work. What do you think? Am I on the right track? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading virtual at Changing Skin and other stories.


%d bloggers like this: