that daft dog
chasing the train
then letting it go
bumps the windowpane
again again again
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2006. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2006 was Janice Galloway.
I have always loved the clarity, delicacy, precision and balance of Alan Spence’s poems, and the haiku are among his most shining. Wonderful to read this form, all-too-often bosh-written or under-estimated as facile, in the hands of such a master. Spence’s haiku are beads of water, and they contain a complete little world.
Someone once said, memorably, that haiku are a ‘seeing into the life of things’. That daft dog (I’ve seen him often!) is fully alive in the moment, living with gusto, chasing that stupid train off his patch of turf. (What do you mean he couldn’t keep up? Nonsense!) This is one zen dog! And as for that bumblebee, why does he keep banging away, dunting the windowpane? Why won’t he see? (Why won’t we?) There he goes again. And again.