Grandpa Jake

Written for:  dVerse Poets – Haibun Monday:  Ekphrasis & Haiga   (posted by Bjorn)

“For poetry the technique when combining art and poetry is called ekphrasis.

My own theory regarding this is that the picture and poetry complement each other rather than that they are mere illustrations. This is much how the prose and haiku complements each other in a haibun.

For haiku poets there exist a long tradition to let art and poetry complement each other in this manner called haiga, and if you study haiga you learn that complementarity between poetry and art is essential.

Today I would like you to write a haibun on any subject that you like. but you should illustrate it with one picture, and let picture prose and haiku complement each other.”

Grandpa Jake was fluent in Hebrew, Russian, and Yiddish.
Not so much, English. When I visited my grandparents,
Grandpa seem rigid, and of stern mien. At holidays,
he commanded the table like captain of a ship. However,
after Grandma’s death, Grandpa fell to pieces. I remember all
the late night calls to my father from a frightened, disoriented man.

Years later in conversation with my Aunt Sylvia, I was
surprised to hear that Grandpa had a wonderful sense of humor.
My father and aunt grew up in a home where several languages
were spoken. I realized the extent to which language
could be a barrier to understanding someone.


Birds of the Seasons – Spring – Toshi Yoshida

blackbirds, bluejays, robins
tree branches bounce with life
different sounds, same tree

About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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24 Responses to Grandpa Jake

  1. I do love the connection of languages and the different languages- a pity with that barrier of language between you and your grandfather


  2. frankhubeny says:

    I liked how the last line in the haiku tied with the last sentence of the prose section.


  3. Lovely—poignant and happy at the same time.


  4. Your haiku complements the prose so beautifully and yes, a lot can get lost in translation, especially humor. Your grandpa may have felt frustrated he could not express himself as well in English and when English is not your native tongue the language spoken can be more direct without all the nuances of softness and warmth lost between the words.


  5. MYRNA ZACH says:

    and he helped make our dad and aunt what they were



  6. Wolfsrosebud says:

    So liked the same tree. You brought this full circle.


  7. Delightful prose and a wonderful portrait of Grandpa…The Haiku and picture just wrap it all up beautifully.


  8. Grace says:

    Enjoyed your family history and language is a wonderful gift to enjoy ~ Also like your haiga with different birds and sounds, but same tree ~ Love the connections of the family tree ~


  9. Very nice memories kept alive.


  10. M says:

    moving and wise ~


  11. Bev says:

    Entertaining prose, and the haiku is perfection!


  12. Mish says:

    I like the element of enlightenment here. We can miss a lot within a language barrier. Your haiku brings the message home. Very nice!


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