Detoured around block
To avoid sure encounters
With some panhandlers –
But still ran into one so
This haiku became tanka
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.
Notes to this poem…
The panhandlers in Halifax are mostly on just a handful of blocks, thankfully. I don’t like encountering them, walking past them and often will choose my walking routes to avoid them. These choices are often just a matter of taking one route or another, going from opposite corners of a rectangle via two sides or the other two sides. Today, though, one such panhandler block was in my path. I had walked this block on Barrington street twice each day for the past two days already, not often doing so at all. As a result, I resolved to go up a block to Argyle, walk past it, then come back down to Barrington. It was good for the mind, as well as the body with the little extra walking. How could I lose, right?
As I walked, I composed the first three lines of this poem as a haiku to capture the thought and experience. Not a proper haiku about nature, unless you count human nature, but I’ve never limited my haiku to nature. But then a panhandler walking around to bum for cigarettes, rather than being stationary on a street asking for money, crossed my path and asked me for cigarettes. Well, at least I could tell the truth I didn’t have any, whereas I’d be lying in saying I didn’t have money to spare. However, encountering this guy negated my haiku and turned it into a lie of sorts! Instead of throwing away a good poem, though, I resolved to add a few more lines and turned the haiku into a tanka form, and documented that, too. 🙂
You know, if my poetry were worth anything monetarily, I’d give the guy some money for the conversion. 🙂
The poems titled Tanka, followed by a number, are tanka composed while I was not engaged in some activity during which I frequently composed poetry. That is why these are called the Inactive Tanka collection.