Mr.Cools' Planet - Welkom! Welcome!

Traveling and Writing
This website is about traveling and writing. Being on the move and being emotionally moved. Two different but interconnected things. Spotting places and losing your heart. Temples, pyramids, cities and ruins, forests and mountains, valleys and rivers, volcanoes and lakes, daily life in the streets, the world as habitat for writing.
Read on: In the year 2000

The Author
Derk Cools was born in 1939 in Den Haag / The Haque, the Netherlands. He got his degree in social geography and economics at the University of Utrecht(1958). As a civil servant with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, he developed expertise in regional (economic) planning at home and abroad. In 1994, he retired and moved to the Netherlands Antilles, the island of Curacao. Read on: Since 1995, he traveled

My Haiku

 A haiku was an overture of a longer poem the renga. Or the haiku was incorporated in a story as for example in the journals of the Japanese haiku poet Basho and called together a haibun. I do not pretend to call my travel book a haibun although a friend of mine said these texts read or should be read as poems. That is the reason why I love also the work of the dutch writer Bert Schierbeek who wrote after World  War II the first so called experimental prose poems. It happens to be that he wrote also about Zen in a booklet  ‘The gardens of Zen’.
These haiku texts try to fix rare moments and peculiar observations and to settle in the mind as a scent. In a radio interview I said that in writing a haiku I felt like a bird watcher. You have to sit still  and wait motionless in order to observe and to see birds. If you make noise or move, all of a sudden the watched birds will fly away. (Maybe, it is paradoxically this sudden moment the poet is waiting for) The Dutch poet Chris van Geel wrote a beautiful poem about this activity of watching, in which a heron (the poet) spies for fish.

a heron walks with care
on high heels through
the water and brings his spying

even when it is dark
as white fish to light. 

It is not the white fish but the spying that is brought to light, as the poet explained later to a literary critic. The spying stands for writing poems. It requires a high concentration, a focusing of attention, a feeling for the volatile. This comes close to Zen meditation, to the writing of haiku. In the art of painting it reminds of a still life. Therefore I added pictures of still lives as a similarity in contrast.  It remains difficult to touch the essence of a haiku, it will often  vanish or evaporate. Perhaps this is why Chris van Geel once hided a haiku about dirt in a short poem *

old dirt
old dirt, while it so beautifully rustles
has a strange voice in the wind.

Set in the structure of a haiku

old dirt, while it so
beautifully rustles has a strange
voice in the wind

This example makes three things clear. First a haiku is made of words. That is the basic material and not the world outside. Emotions, all right. Secondly, a haiku is difficult to translate. And last but not least the haiku shows it does not matter what its topic is. Even old dirt is good enough to get a voice, to rustle in the wind. For me, the haiku reflects rare moments in daily life. Just a blink.  Moments, happenings one can enjoy time and again.  When I reread my ‘haiku’ it is as the return of a memory that deletes itself when I read it.

* Hugo Brems: De Rentmeester van het Paradijs