Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2006, vol 4 no 3

Asphalt, Yet Sky
by Nikola Madziron
A Review by Robert D. Wilson


Trodden grass
It rises to see
who is treading it

Macedonian poet Nikola Madziron brings to the world of Japanese short form poetry a fresh voice combining a reverence and respect for the Japanese heritage of haiku and senryu with surrealism, animism, empathy, and the cultural imprint that continues to make him who he is. His haiku resonates, lingering long after one reads them.

Take for instance:

A raindrop in the puddle
has wrinkled
the moon!

The moon is reflected in a puddle of water. It begins to rain. A single raindrop falls down from the same sky the moon is is in, wrinkling the reflection. The poet has experienced an "aha!" moment, seeing something most people would take for granted or miss altogether. With nine words he puts into words the epiphany he has experienced; words incorporating meter, truth, beauty, and mystery to form a haiku that leaps out of the poet's sphere of understanding into the social context and memories of those reading the poem. A good haiku is more than an observation. It germinates thought, speaking to the soul and mind, in a way that prose cannot.

Hey sunflower,
beware - the moon lies
when it is full

In this haiku I see the influence of Kobayashi Issa. Madziron is talking to a sunflower underneath a full moon. Like many indigenous people on the planet, he views the flora and fauna of his locale with respect and compassion. The poet has been admiring this sunflower, observing it closely. Its blossom has not closed. Thinking this is because of the bright light emanating from the full moon, Madziron admonishes the sunflower to not believe everything it senses, regarding the light. This haiku makes one think, is easy to visualize, yet leaves room for more than one interpretation. The poem can also serve as an allegory, teaching people to go beyond the concrete in one's search for understanding and meaning.

Asphalt, Yet Sky is an interesting title; the poetry inside, an exploration of a world consisting of the poet's interaction between the duality of urban life and nature. A concept that could easily become a disjointed work, tackling two opposites in the same book. A skillful artist, Madziron intertwines the two, painting with words, a symbiotic canvas, blending them into one voice.

A raindrop on the glasses,
and you look at the world

. . . A blending of two worlds, the end result, a world seen differently.

Madziron reminds us that one doesn't have to live in the country to enjoy the beauty of nature; that what we sometimes take for granted in our busy lives, speaks to us if we take the time to listen and watch.

A leaf falls down . . .
Its shadow dancing
upon the asphalt

The gold fish
in the goldfish bowl has
one wish only

At 33, Madziron has accomplished much in a relatively short time. He is the editor of Blesok, an online magazine for the Arts and Culture; he has published short stories, poetry, essays, and translations, and is the recipient of multiple awards.

He writes haiku, however, like an elder statesman.

Falling stars
I made a wish . . .
to fall somewhere soft

Asphalt, Yet Sky
by Nikola Madziron
Ljubljana: Drustvo Apokalipsa, 2005
ISBN 961-6314-79-3