Blue Octavo Haiku

By Rachel Wetzsteon 1967–2009 Rachel Wetzsteon

after Kafka


In fat armchairs sat
indolence and impatience,
plotting my downfall

      *

A wicked cage flew
across the long horizon
searching for a bird.

      *

I burned with love in
empty rooms, I sternly turned
knives within myself.

      *

“Behold the bright gate,”
the keeper said. “I am now
going to shut it.”

      *

Hardly was the road
swept clean when ah! there appeared
new piles of dry leaves.

      *

But nothing could kill
a faith like a guillotine,
as heavy, as light.

      *

Happiness? Finding
your indestructible core;
leaving it alone.

      *

Into the heavens
flew a breathless legion of
impossible crows.

Rachel Wetzsteon, “Blue Octavo Haiku” from Sakura Park. Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Wetzsteon. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books.

Source: Sakura Park (Persea Books, 2006)

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Poet Rachel Wetzsteon 1967–2009

Subjects Nature, Animals, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

 Rachel  Wetzsteon

Biography

Born in Manhattan, poet and editor Rachel Wetzsteon received degrees from Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. She made her home in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which is the setting for many of her formally assured poems. Influenced by Charles Baudelaire, Soren Kierkegaard, and Philip Larkin, Wetzsteon infused her urban and emotional landscapes with a dry wit. As critic Adam . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals, Social Commentaries, Life Choices

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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