Haiku-like Hemingway

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Many people don’t know that Ernest Hemingway enjoyed reading poetry and, before he became famous for his short stories, even attempted a few poems. Reading A Moveable Feast, I can see why. Poetry often hides in the work of good prose writers, and as I tried fashioning found poems from young Hemingway’s spare language, I discovered an almost Eastern simplicity to them:

 

Haiku-like Hemingway

Paris in winter,
clear and cold and lovely.
Our apartment, though,
warm and cheerful.
We burn boulets
molded, egg-shaped lumps
of coal dust.

Outside, accustomed
to bare trees against the sky,
I walk on fresh-washed gravel paths
through Luxembourg Gardens.
The clear, sharp wind.

Winter winds blow across
surfaces of the ponds
and the fountains
blow in the bright light.

The fireplace draws well,
warm and pleasant to work.
I bring mandarines,
roasted chestnuts
in paper packets, peel
and eat the small
tangerine-like oranges,
throwing skins
and spitting seeds
in the fire.

I am hungry
with the walking and the cold
and the working.
Hunger is good discipline.

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