Monster Duck

… the hidden meaning of haiku

On Tuesday 5th, in South Hobart, all performances finished, I was preparing for a recording session scheduled for the next day. Having finished writing my part of a collaborative score for a new duo with Emily, I was reworking a haiku I wrote on the first day of our trip on our way to the Tarkine nearly 2 weeks ago.

Now I had two versions of the “same” poem; I liked the first, but felt the new version would be perhaps better as a freestanding allusion to my experience. Not sure which I should record, I asked Emily’s young ten-year-old housemate, Avian, for his advice. He agreed to help, and promptly lay down on the couch with eyes closed, listening attentively.

I read him the first version of my haiku and asked him to tell me what he pictured. (As he didn’t know the context of where we were camping, I thought his response would be helpful. Which it was!)  Here is his explanation upon hearing the first version:

lapping sound of clouds
landing duck scatters mountain
raven caws the morn

Avian: Well, a bunch of heavy clouds come down and slap the top of a mountain;
then this really gigantic duck flies down and lands on the mountain & smashes it to bits;
and a raven cries out when he sees the mountain explode.


Brilliant! I love Avian’s vision. Much better than mine! But then, I was trying to evoke a specific image with my poor haiku, hence I’d written a new version. So, I read him my second version:

lakeside raven caws
landing duck scatters mountain
lapping sound of clouds

Avian: Oh! I get it. I’m sitting by Lake St Clair…
the clouds are coming down to drink at the lake;
and a duck flies down and smashes up the reflection of the mountain;
and I can see a raven sitting on the opposite bank.

Again I like his vision better than my experience… where a duck had created waves that gently lapped at the pebbled shore of Lake Burbury where the morning clouds were reflected in the shallows…

Anyway, I chose the more sober second version to record… but have included the first one here for posterity, along with Avian’s magnificent commentary. Thank you Avian!


For a list of all my Takine Adventure blog series in reverse order go to: tarkine-in-motion-2016

If you enjoyed my posts, or would like to quote any of the poems or text, or use images, please contact me. It’s easy to sign up to WordPress, and then you can subscribe to friend’s blogsites, leave comments, or start your own blog. Could be fun… 🙂

About anne norman

musician, shakuhachi player, author, poet, tea lover...
This entry was posted in Environmental essays and poems, haiku, my meanderings, Tarkine in Motion 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Monster Duck

  1. Pingback: Husshh … hearing takayna | peripatetic musings

  2. Pingback: Lake Burbury | peripatetic musings

  3. Satish says:

    What does monster duck mean in a word or please explain


    • anne norman says:

      The title of this blog refers to the imaginative interpretation of my original haiku by 10 year old Avian. The word Monster in this case means ENORMOUS. So big it can smash mountains.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s