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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Knights of Mentis

I was speaking with a friend the other night, Bassist, Pete The Bastard, on the occasion of a small exhibition of his wonderful B/W photos of cameos around Oxford.

Pete, tho he looks like a Biker Hells Angel, has a real gentle all seeing eye for the "Moment", and i likened his work to "visual haiku's", if that is not a tautology, which took me afterwards to thinking about the very nature of Haiku's.

They are sociable but not a social form, and are almost totally unrhetorical, having nothing to say to the will. They do not have an agenda of social change, except possibly to persuade other people to write haiku in reply.

From all this flow the three classical haiku attributes; loneliness, tenderness and slenderness. They represent a sharing of a moment in a great loneliness; what is shared is centred on the feeling of loneliness itself, however much other feelings are involved with it. Loneliness is the gift the haiku poet prizes above all, because it is the loneliness of detachment, not the bitter isolation of frustrated desire.

Within detachment one's feelings can grow, not as the ravishers of virtue they normally are. Haiku poets call it tenderness, fellow feeling, a gentle acknowledgement that things exist outside yourself, which suffer and have their being in the Tao of enlightenment just as we do. And a haiku, like a great photograph, must be slender because it makes no claims upon you other than an invitation to share its moment.

I reflect on all this, as I sit here, on a rainy English Saturday morning, flicking through my moleskine jottings and haiku's from the hectic week, as I drink my mug of tea, and look out over the dog walkers on the park. A moment of Compos Mentis.

Mobile in right hand
She trades sweet-nothings
As her left scoops poop


On the road to Hay,
A truck loaded with
White roses.


First rain in weeks,
Slugs risk freedom
On the busy path


Behind the dog man
a-swagger with leash-
A damp Jack Russell


On the stairs at dawn
Deep inside the lobby,
A single leaf

Sir Dayvd ( who'll be back to being busy as a blue-assed fly, by the time you read this. ) of Oxfordshire.


  1. Love the Slug Haiku! Funny, I dreamed about a slug leaving it's trail all over my home last night. Self commentary?! LOL! Where's Daniel when you need him?

    Anyway, time for this slug to launch HaiCoo!

    Hot coffee
    Awakens the Coldplay Slug
    From slumber

    Perhaps we can meet Pete the Bastard in July?

    Sir Hook the Slugging Bastard of Warrickk

  2. Sir Dayvd Writing
    Haikus of his hectic week
    For Knights to Enjoy

    Thank you Sir Dayvd

  3. Parfit gentil knyghtes, I kneel and bring tidings of ASTOUNDING SYMMETRY and CHIVALROUS LOVE from fellow members of the order. I am Lord Leafield of the Knights of Mentis, Oxfordshire.
    We are an English/Irish/Scottish order who have exchanged our clodpoles and pikes for banjos and mandolins that we may COMFORT the DISTURBED, even as we DISTURB the COMFORTABLE.
    Attuned to the resonance of small damp dogs? Aye.
    Slug-botherers? Aye.
    Brewers of ale, cider and mead? Aye.
    If any amongst you be still in Oxfordshire -or sortie here at any time- we would like to feed you beer.

    Listen gentle knights
    Fanfares ring from four corners
    Brothers in Mentis