As with the poems presented in the SG2, these present a clear contrast in how they operate. Tchouhov’s reminds me of something Burnell Lippy said introducing his own work: “I often approach haiku, my own and others’, as though I were creating or deciphering a Chinese ideogram”. In this way of looking at haiku, Lippy might say that “a raven steals the eyes/ of a snowman” could evolve into an ideogram for “the longest night”. The two parts of the poem do not contrast or compare, nor does the first line merely present a “weather report”, a background against which some detail or action can occur.
It seems more accurate to say that they mean each other, or even that they are each other, or even to say… The poem feels close to the source, where language is still a living thing. Not bad for a translation. Of course, I don't know what sound and rhythmic qualities the original might add.
With Tchouhov’s poem, I do not question the particulars, any more than I would question snow falling from a cloud. It’s different with Sedlar’s. My approach to this kind of poem is the same approach I would have to a dream: without wishing to drain it of its integrity, of its being a whole which manifests differently from different angles, I might still ask why a beach, why two parrots, or any parrots? If I were under the impression that a haiku needs to be derived from actual experience, reportage of a filmable event, let’s say-- then I would be left to ask, well why did he feel the need to report that odd experience. But I have been disabused of that notion, as well as of the notion that actual or “direct” experience is somehow more real than any other kind of experience. I look up (literally and figuratively) to what I have posted above my window: “How do you know but every bird that cuts the airy way, is an immense world of delight, closed by your senses five”.
Having said all that, I am not sure that any responses, and I do have some, to any questions I ask add up to more than my having enjoyed the exercise. I’m not sure that I can enter the poem any more deeply than I can enter an ink-blot, though I might learn something about myself.
So I seem to have revised my estimate of this poem to something below “marvelous”. Even so, I am not ready to vote. Who knows but Sedlar’s poem is an immense world of delight, just now closed to my senses six or seven?
For now I'll just enjoy the absurdity of it. Not all dreams are life-changers.