“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Haiku

Our annual Christmas trip to Iowa was full of delights and sweet moments with family and friends.  The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon and Pale Male and Family popped into Christmas stockings across the state and seemed to be well-received.

One highlight of the trip was a visit to the Cedar Rapids home of long-time family friends, Jerry and Marilyn Owen.  They graciously previewed "The Legend of Pale Male" with us and generated some good thinking about how and where to do an Iowa premiere screening of the film.  Marilyn is a retired school music teacher and fine choral singer and flautist. Jerry is an emeritus professor of music composition from our alma mater, Coe College.  He is a renowned composer of, as his website states,'The New Classical Music.' 
Jerry is also an appreciator and writer of haiku poetry.  

I was interested to learn that Jerry had recently composed a commissioned choral piece, the lyrics of which are based on Jerry's original haiku.  Jerry's haiku are sublime- colorful, expertly crafted, and lyrical (of course!) The choral piece, "Canticle Chorale", has three sections: "Spring", "The Sun Seasons", and "Winter." It is a joyous and evocative aural tapestry.  Listening to this gorgeous piece (two listenings to date), I realize that I have been remiss in not seeking out more recordings of Jerry's compositions.  

Jerry and I chatted about the charged essence of a well-crafted haiku.  I came away from the encounter compelled to do even more with Charles's large body of masterful haiku and encouraged to get back to writing haiku of my own.  Thank you, Jerry!

I'm sure Charles would agree that all new years should begin with haiku.  Deb and I have been at our place in the mountains to greet the new year, so here is a light flurry of my recent haiku.

New Year Snowshoeing

on a winter hike
we march to the crunching beat
of snowshoe music

stopped knee-deep in snow
catching breath, letting hearts calm...
our reward: silence

beneath the silence
sounds like old folks murmuring...
the creek under ice

gusts throw snow from pines
into roiling, back-lit clouds-
cold veil of diamonds

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