Apple Jelly Haiku

November 2001

Haiku Treasure Trove – Riccardo Duranti (IT)

In the August issue, we introduced the first “Haiku Treasure Trove”, a column featuring haiku and related poems which are excellent, but have not been widely read, if even at all.

Occasionally these poems will not go along with the fashion of the day or fit a dominant trend followed by haiku editors. Innovative or experimental poems have, by their very nature, less chance to be published, particularly in haiku and related Asian verse. There are poets who write for their own pleasure, seldom sharing them except with close friends and family. And there are those who focus on a specific or specialised subject or theme such as love, war or science.

Another source is “non-haiku” poets who write what they call haiku poems from time to time, which may be rejected by the haiku camp. There are also poets writing haiku, who normally concentrate on other forms or divide their interests among genres, therefore, their haiku may not be as readily visible or recognised. It is a main goal of WHC and World Haiku Review to build strong bridges between these poets and their editors in all areas of the World.

We now present Riccardo Duranti, an English Literature Professor at Rome University, “La Sapienza,” and well known translator from English into Italian. In 1996 he received a National Prize for his activity. He has translated scores of English and American authors, from John Berger to Raymond Carver, from Edward Bond to Caryl Churchill, from Ted Hughes to Michael Ondaatje.

He is also a poet on his own, both in Italian and in English. His books include Bivio di Voce (Empirìa, 1987), Mompeo e dintorni – haiku (Pro Loco Mompeo,1991), The Archer’s Paradox (The Many Press, 1993) and L’Affettuosa Fantasia (Aracne, 1998) and Kent’haiku (Red Pagoda Press, 1999). With Anamaría Crowe Serrano, he has recently completed a novel, Behind the Tapestry, on the life of Thomas Shelton, the first translator of Don Quixote. Riccardo lives in Rome with his two cats, Chispa and Sparky.

Riccardo Duranti and AnamarÍa Crowe Serrano joined WHC’s Autumn Festival event with Pro Art and Japan2001 in “Haiku, Inspiration, Image” as presenters, reading samples of their haiku and participating in the discussions. The “Applejelly Haikus” sequence was written recently, prior to the September meeting, when Anamaría had sent him an e-mail saying that her garden apple trees in Dublin had a bumper crop. She asked if he have any suggestions about what to do with all those apples. Riccardo remembered an old family recipe and decided to do something original with it, also to show haikus can do anything….

Applejelly Haiku

for amcs

1.After the rain pick
the moon-apples: from each cut
four seedless crescents…
2.Do keep the skin whole
for its virtues will congeal
the pact of ripeness…
3.Just barely covered
with water, in a pot put
them through the fire test…
4.While they simmer till
well done, get ready thinking
of apple blossoms…
5.Upturn a chair and
on its legs tie a cheesecloth
by the four corners…
6.Underneath it place
another pot, then pour the
pulp in that white nest…
7.Let it stand over –
night without ever stirring
lest the juice should dim…
8.While it filters down
drop by clear drop, you can dream
of bees and blossoms…
9.Diff’rent apples will
yield a golden, green or pink
crystal clear liquor…
10.Measure two thirds of
its weight in sugar crystals
and let them embrace…
11.They should simmer some
more until a drop will stick
still on a saucer…
12.Meanwhile don’t discard
the leftover pulp: so good
mixed with cinnamon!
13.Pour the clear jelly
in warm jars with a mint leaf
and then cap them tight…
14.Enjoy that nectar
in mid-Winter, hoping for
new blossoms next Spring


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