I try to do Herbert in haiku

I’ve swept all those words

from the threshold so just knock

and it will open.

I posted an earlier version of this but it bothered me when I reread it later in the day. I’m reading Eleanor Cook’s new book Elizabeth Bishop at Work (Harvard) and her meticulous chapter on diction — Bishop very fond of Herbert — I think increased my uneasiness. I believeĀ this version recalls Herbert, especially in the use of dialogue of man and God.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

One thought on “I try to do Herbert in haiku”

  1. This version is syntactically clearer and cleaner in a way that enacts the kind of spiritual openness through impassivity that the poem seems to evoke. You could post this version, I think. It’s lovely!


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