Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday May 24th - Bob Dylan's Birthday

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): I've heard through the grapevine that you have certain powers

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Oh no, that's not me but I know who you mean 

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): You're not the alchemist?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): No, but I've seen him come through here, carrying his bags full of bottles. We talk now and then.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): What's he tell you?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Nothing special. I've seen him perform certain mysterious gestures though. I never say nothing' about it. I just watch.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg):  What does he do?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Sometimes very small things and sometimes very big ones.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): Like what?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Well,  I've seen him touch fire to ice one time. That was interesting, The whole place melted.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): You were right there?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Right in the middle of it. I stood very still so as not to disturb his activity. Most people ran out of the joint but I stood right there watching.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): What happened then?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Well next thing I knew we were rolling on ice. Well that was some dance he was doing. He showed me other stuff too but I ain't tellin'.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): How come?

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): 'Cause I want him to come back and show me some more. 

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): Well, the reason I'm asking is because I'm a little concerned for the Empire.

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Why is that?

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): Everyone's going bankrupt, and seeing as I'm the Emperor. I feel it's my duty to bail them out in some way

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Well I could maybe talk to him for ya. You need gold or lightning?

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): Something that's going to pay off the bills

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Well, who do you owe?

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): Certain invisible ones. Nobody's sure.

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): How did you get yourself into this situation?

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): I inherited it.

Alchemist (Bob Dylan): Well, I'll see what I can do for ya, but like I say, I'm not the one.

Emperor (Allen Ginsberg): I'd certainly appreciate it.

-  The Alchemist Scene (Sam Shepherd  from The Rolling Thunder Logbook) 

from Peter Barry Chowka's 1976 interview in New Age Journal 
Lay down Lay down yr Mountain Lay down God
Lay down Lay down yr music Love Lay down
Lay down Lay down yr hatred Lay yrself down
Lay down Lay down yr Nation Lay yr foot on the Rock
Lay down yr whole Creation Lay yr Mind down
Lay down Lay down yr Magic Hey Alchemist Lay it down Clear
Lay down yr Practice precisely Lay down yr Wisdom dear
Lay down Lay down yr Camera Lay down yr Image right
Yea Lay down yr Image Lay down Light.
Nov. 1, 1975
PBC: Is Dylan the "Alchemist" in those lines?

AG: Yeah, the poem is directed to him, because we were considering the nature of the movie we were making, which will be a nice thing, a sort of "dharma movie," hopefully, depending on how it's edited. The movie, made along the Rolling Thunder tour (one hundred and twenty hours of film which will have to be reduced to three) [the movie, after editing was released as Renaldo and Clara (1978)],  has many "dharma" scenes. It was like a Buddhist conspiracy on the part of some of the directors and film cameramen; the director [producer - sic] Mel Howard was out at Naropa last year. In every scene that I played I used the Milarepa mantra "Ah" and kept trying to lay it on Dylan or the audience or the film men.

PBC: Much of Dylan's music, even from the middle, electric period of his career, has impressed me as being very Zen-like in a lot of its imagery. Knowing him well as you do, do you think he has been influenced by Zen or Buddhism?

AG: I don't know him because I don't think there is any him, I don't think he's got a self!

PBC: He's ever-changing.

AG: Yeah. He's said some very beautiful, Buddha-like things. One thing, very important, was I asked him whether he was having pleasure on the tour, and he said, "Pleasure, Pleasure, what's that? I never touch the stuff." And then he went on to explain that at one time he had had a lot of pain and sought a lot of pleasure, but found that there was a subtle relationship between pleasure and pain. His words were, "They're in the same framework." So now, as in the Bhagavad Gita, he does what it is necessary to do without consideration of "pleasure," not being a pleasure-junkie, which is good advice for anyone coming from the top-most pleasure-possible man in the world. He also said he believed in God. That's why I wrote "Lay Down yr Mountain Lay down God." Dylan said that where he was, "on top of the Mountain," he had a choice whether to stay or to come down. He said, God told him, "All right, you've been on the Mountain, I'm busy, go down, you're on your own. Check in later." (laughs) And then Dylan said, "Anybody that's busy making elephants and putting camels through needles' eyes is too busy to answer my questions, so I came down the Mountain."

PBC: Several of his albums have shown his interest in God, especially New Morning.

AG: "Father of Night",  yeah. I think that is, in a sense, a penultimate stage. It's not his final stage of awareness. I was kidding him on the tour, I said, "I used to believe in God." So he said, "Well, I used to believe in God, too." (laughs) And then he said, "You'd write better poetry if you believed in God."

PBC: You've been fairly close to Dylan for a number of years now . . .

AG: No, I didn't see him for four years. He just called me up at four a.m. and said, "What are you writing, sing it to me on the telephone." And then said, "O.K., let's go out on the road."

PBC: He was encouraged by a letter you'd written him about your appreciation of his song "Idiot Wind"?

AG: Denise Mercedes, a guitarist whom Dylan admires, was talking to Dylan, and he mentioned to her that he was tickled. I had written a long letter to him demanding two hundred thousand dollars for Naropa Institute, to sustain the whole Trungpa scene, just a big long kidding letter, hoping that he'd respond. He liked the letter, he just skipped over the part about money. (He doesn't read anything like that, I knew, anyway.) But then I also explained what was going on at Naropa with all the poets. I said also that I had dug the great line in the song "Idiot Wind," which I thought was one of Dylan's great great prophetic national songs, with one rhyme that took in the whole nation, I said it was a "national rhyme":
Idiot wind
Blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Dylan told Denise that nobody else had noticed it or mentioned it to him; that the line had knocked him out, too. He thought it was an interesting creation, however he had arrived at it. And I thought it was absolutely a height of Hart Crane-type poetics. I was talking earlier about resentment. "Idiot Wind" is like Dylan acknowledging the vast resentments, angers and ill-temper on the Left and the Right all through America during the 'Sixties, calling it an "idiot wind" and saying "it's a wonder we can even breathe" or "it's a wonder we can even eat!" [ Editorial note - "It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe".."it's a wonder we can even feed ourselves"]  

PBC: Right, and directing it at himself, as well.

AG: Yeah, talking about it within himself, but also declaring his independence from it. There's a great line in which he says, "I've been double-crossed now for the very last time, and now I'm finally free," recognizing and exorcising the monster  ["the howling beast'] "on the borderline between you and me." ["which separated you from me"].

PBC: You've obviously been impressed by Dylan and his music during the last decade.

AG: He's a great poet.

PBC: Is it possible for you to verbalize what kinds of influence he's had on your own style of poetry?

AG: I've done that at great length in the preface to a new bookFirst Blues, which has just been published in only 1,500 copies [1976], so it's relatively rare. I wrote a long preface tracing all the musical influences I've had, including Dylan's, because I dedicated the book to him. He taught me three chords so I got down to blues. Right after Trungpa suggested I begin improvising, I began improvising and Dylan heard it, and encouraged it even more. We went into a studio in (19)71 and improvised a whole album.

PBC: Which has never been released. Do you think it ever will be?

AG: Oh, on Folkways, or something. [Editorial note -  three tracks, "Vomit Express", "Going To San Diego" and "Jimmy Berman" appeared on the John Hammond-produced 1983 record "Allen Ginsberg First Blues" (not to be confused with the 1981 Harry Smith-produced "First Blues", which did appear on Folkways] 

PBC: Back to the Rolling Thunder Tour. Perhaps you can place it in the context of the Beat movement of the fifties and the consciousness expansion of the sixties. Something you said while on the tour indicated that you saw it as being perhaps that important; you said that "the Rolling Thunder Revue will be one of the signal gestures characterizing the working cultural community that will make the 'Seventies."

AG: Wishful thinking, probably, but at the same time wishful thinking is also prophesy. It seemed to me like the first bud of spring. I thought that the gesture toward communalism -- almost like a traveling rock-family-commune that Dylan organized, with poets and musicians all traveling together, with the musicians all calling each other "poet" - "sing me a song, poet" - was a good sign. The fact that he brought his mother along - the "mysterious" Dylan had a chicken-soup, Yiddish Mama, who even got on stage at one point…

PBC: Not to mention bringing his wife Sara and Joan Baez
AG: Sara came, and his children came. And Sara met Joan Baez and they all acted in the movie together, and Joan Baez brought her mother and her children, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott had his daughter. So there was a lot of jumping family.

PBC: Sounds like Dylan tying up a lot of loose karmic ends.

AG: Right. As he says in the jacket notes to the Desire album, "We've got a lot of karma to burn." To deal with or get rid of, I think he means.

PBC: It was really a unique tour, bringing you primarily to small towns and colleges in New England…

AG: The Beat moment was arriving at Jack Kerouac's natal place, Lowell, Massachusetts, and going to Kerouac's grave.

PBC: Was Dylan moved during that experience?

AG: He was very open and very tender, he gave a lot of himself there. We stood at Kerouac's grave and read a little section on the nature of self-selflessness, from Mexico City Blues. Then we sat down on the grave and Dylan took up my harmonium and made up a little tune. Then he picked up his guitar and started a slow blues, so I improvised into a sort of exalted style, images about Kerouac's empty skull looking down at us over the trees and clouds while we sat there, empty-mouthed, chanting the blues. Suddenly, Dylan interrupted the guitar while I continued singing the verses (making them up as I went along so it was like the triumph of the Milarepa style) and he picked up a Kerouac-ian October-brown autumn leaf from the grass above his grave and stuck it in his breast pocket and then picked up the guitar again and came down at the beat just as I did, too, and we continued for another couple of verses before ending. So it was very detached and surrendered; it didn't even make a difference if he played the guitar or not. It was like the old blues guitarists who sing a cappella for a couple of bars.

PBC: Has Dylan ever acknowledged to you that Kerouac was an influence on him or that he's familiar with his work?

AG: Yes, oddly! I asked him if he had ever read any Kerouac. He answered, "Yeah, when I was young in Minneapolis." Someone had given him Kerouac's Mexico City Blues. He said, "I didn't understand the words then, I understand it better now, but it blew my mind." So apparently Kerouac was more of an influence on him than I had realized. I think it was a nice influence on him.

PBC: Which poem was he reading from Kerouac's Mexico City Blues?

AG: It's one toward the end of the book, which he picked out at random. I had picked out something for him to read and, typical Dylan, he turned the page and read the other one on the opposite side of the page. (laughs)

PBC: Which one did you pick out for him to read?

AG: "The wheel of the quivering meat/ conception/ Turns in the void.." [211th Chorus] the one that, I think, ends, "Poor!/ I wish I were free/of that slaving meat wheel/ and safe in heaven, dead." There was another one [230th Chous] I picked which lists all the sufferings of existence and ends, "like kissing my kitten in the belly/ The softness of our reward."

PBC: Was it your suggestion that Rolling Thunder include Lowell on the tour?

AG: No, Dylan had chosen it himself. We did a lot of beautiful filming in Lowell -- one of the scenes described by Kerouac is a grotto near an orphanage in the center of red brick Catholic Lowell near the Merrimac River. So we went there and spent part of the afternoon. There's a giant statue of Christ described by Kerouac. Dylan got up near where the Christ statue was on top of an artificial hill-mound, and all of a sudden he got into this funny monologue, asking the man on the cross, "How does it feel to be up there?" There's a possibility… everyone sees Dylan as a Christ-figure, too, but he doesn't want to get crucified. He's too smart, in a way. Talking to "the star" who made it up and then got crucified Dylan was almost mocking, like a good Jew might be to someone who insisted on being the messiah, against the wisdom of the rabbis, and getting himself nailed up for it. He turned to me and said, "What can you do for somebody in that situation?" I think he quoted Christ, "suffer the little children," and I quoted "and always do for others and let others do for you," which is Dylan's hip, American-ese paraphrase of Christ's "Do unto others . . .," in "Forever Young". So there was this brilliant, funny situation of Dylan talking to Christ, addressing this life-size statue of Christ, and allowing himself to be photographed with Christ. It was like Dylan humorously playing with the dreadful potential of his own mythological imagery, unafraid and confronting it, trying to deal with it in a sensible way. That seemed to be the characteristic of the tour: that Dylan was willing to shoulder the burden of the myth laid on him, or that he himself created, or the composite creation of himself and the nation, and use it as a workable situation; as Trungpa would say, "alchemize" it.

We had another funny little scene - I don't know if these will ever be shown in the film, that's why I'm describing them - with Dylan playing the Alchemist and me playing the Emperor, filmed in a diner outside of Falmouth, Massachusetts. I enter the diner and say, "I'm the emperor, I just woke up this morning and found out I inherited an empire, and it's bankrupt. I hear from the apothecary across the street that you're an alchemist. I need some help to straighten out karmic problems with my empire . . . I just sent for a shipload of tears from Indo-China but it didn't seem to do any good. Can you help, do you have any magic formulae for alchemizing the situation?" Dylan kept denying that he was an alchemist. "I can't help, what're you asking me for? I don't know anything about it." I said, "You've got to, you've got to be a bodhisattva, you've got to take on the responsibility, you're the alchemist, you know the secrets.'' So he asked the counterman, who was a regular counterman at a regular diner, to bring him some Graham crackers and some Ritz crackers, ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, milk, coffee, yogurt, and apple pie. He dumped them all in a big aluminum pot. Earlier, I had come in and lay down my calling card, which was an autumn leaf, just like the one Dylan pocketed in the graveyard - the leaf which runs through many of the scenes in the movie, representing, like in Kerouac's work, transiency, poignancy, regret, acknowledgement of change, death. So I threw my calling card leaf in the pot and Dylan threw in a piece of cardboard, and then he fished out the leaf, all muddy, and slapped it down on the counter on top of my notebook, where I was taking down all the magical ingredients of his alchemical mixture. Then I said, "Oh, I see the secret of your alchemy - ordinary objects." "Yes," he said, "ordinary mind." So that was the point of that. Next I said, "Come on, look at my kingdom," and he said, "No, I don't want anything to do with it" and he rushed out of the diner. I followed him out, like in a Groucho Marx movie, and stopped: turned to the camera, lifted my finger, and said, "I'll find out the secret." Then we re-did the scene and, coyote magician that he is, with no consistency, he suggested towards the end of the scene, "Well, why don't we go look at your kingdom?" So he led the way out and we went to see the "empire." He was completely unpredictable in the way he would improvise scenes. All the scenes were improvised.

It's Bob Dylan's 74th birthday today!   Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!  

Here's his rendition of  "The Night We Called It A Day" (from his current album , Shadows in the Night) performed this past week on the David Letterman Show

and, in case you missed it, here's the transcript of his February 2015 MusiCares speech

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Allen Ginsberg's FBI files

                                        [Allen Ginsberg in Cuba with a plane shot down in The Bay of Pigs]

We are immensely grateful to Shawn Musgrave and MuckRock for the recent (April, 2015) release by the FBI, (following a Freedom of Information Act request first filed in November, 2012), of 89 pages of investigative documents held in government files on Allen Ginsberg.  As MuckRock pointedly notes, "The agency's response letter indicated that there may be additional FBI files pertaining to Ginsberg, but that a search for the missing records "met with unsuccessful results" and that other documents may have been transfered to the National Archives" (a request for those documents has now been made). "Another CIA document was deemed classified and withheld in full"

Allen, of course, through his own energies (his own personal FOI requests) was made familiar with, and provided with copies of, much of this information before he died. 

Aside from those files included in his papers at Stanford University, pertinent documents (FBI Investigation and Surveillance Records) are available here at the Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University, Milwaukee 

"Three Documents From Allen Ginsberg's FBI file" appears in Lewis Hyde's On The Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (1985)  (along with "In Our Files" (from a Memorandum, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, New York Office) and "A Letter to Richard Helms", Director of the Central Intelligence Agency")

Herbert Mitgang's  1988 digest in Dangerous Dossiers - Exposing the Secret War Against America's Greatest Authors may be referenced here  

We would also draw your attention to an early notice, "What Six Nice People Found in the Government's Drawers" (written in 1976, published in Oui magazine, Feb 1977) and the Introduction to "Smoking Typewriters" (from 1981, part of Geoffrey Rips' UnAmerican Activities), both included in Deliberate Prose - Selected Essays 1952-1995

As Shawn Musgrave in his accompanying report notes, "Documents released to MuckRock indicate that Ginsberg first came to FBI attention in September 1963…In response to an unspecified agency's request for a name-check, the FBI replied that it hadn't investigated Ginsberg to date…(They) decided to dig deeper in 1965 after learning he would be traveling to Cuba to judge a poetry competition (the Casa de las Americas Prize for Literature). A February 1965 memo from FBI headquarters directed the New York office to initiate an investigation to "ascertain whether he is engaged in any activities which would be considered inimical to the interests of the U.S.". Two months later after conducting dozens of informant interviews and checks of arrest, telephone, and other records, the New York office sent back its findings. Their report concluded that Ginsberg's "bizarre" activities did not warrant (him) being added to the (clandestine) "Security Index" of potentially dangerous individuals to be arrested if martial law were declared in the United States
"No interview of Ginsberg is recommended at any time", agents wrote, "in view of his narcotic and sexual proclivities, his psychiatric history and his connection with mass media". In their 23-page report, the FBI distilled Ginsberg's career to date, (an obsessive and skewered distillation), making frequent references to his advocacy for the legalization of marijuana and (his) "self-admitted" homosexuality…" "While the FBI concluded its 1965 report that Ginsberg posed no threat, the agency did pass a copy on to the Secret Service. The transmission cover letter cited such broad criterea as "antipathy towardgood order and government"…In 1968, the FBI field office in New York reaffirmed that Ginsberg's activities, "while extremely eccentric" did not merit his inclusion on any blacklists" 

****The 89 Pages Of Allen Ginsberg FBI Files Made Available (curious reading) are available  HERE

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Essential Ginsberg

Next Tuesday (May 26th) is the official publication-date for the new Allen Ginsberg book (published by HarperCollins in the United States and by Penguin in the United Kingdom and Australia) - The Essential Ginsberg (a vital - indeed, essential - 400-page plus compendium, covering the entire range of his art, skillfully edited by his biographer, Michael Schumacher - curiously, the first such one-volume survey). 
Lawrence Ferlinghetti notes that it is "An intellectually impeccable selection, distilling Ginsberg as visionary mystic and dark prophet foretelling what people in power didn't want to hear". Michael McClure writes: "In these memory orchards Allen Ginsberg flashes from the divinely practical to inspired songs and factual revelations..They shine on the future". Anne Waldman wryly observes: "When planet earth is dust, The Essential Ginsberg will be one of the books to take to Mars to remember us by".
Here is the starred review that appeared in Library Journal:
"The work and not just the poetry of Ginsberg (1926-97), one of 20th-century America's most important and notorious literary figures has finally been given the career-arching overview it deserves. Schumacher (Dharma Lion) has compiled the poet's greatest hits into this volume, including the regularly-anthologized, "Howl", "Kaddish", "A Supermarket In California", "America", and "Kral Majales". What distinguishes this book from other posthumous Ginsberg collections is that it also presents small samples of his songwriting, essays, interviews, letters, journal excerpts, and understated photography. Ginsberg's position at the center of the Beat movement is made clear through Schumacher's selections which highlight his key relationships with Jack Kerouac, William S Burroughs, Neal Cassady, among others. Similarly, his involvementin the burgeoning American counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s is at the heart of many of these selections. By making this volume similar to the ones in Viking's "Portable Library" series, Harper Perennial  has all but ensured the book's place in university classrooms for years to come. VERDICT:  An essential starting-point for any reader encountering the artist's still-controversial work for the very first time."
and from Kirkus Review:
"A representative sampling from an iconic American poet. A prolific poet and political gadfly, Ginsberg (1926-1997) never wrote an autobiography, but he did keep journals, write letters to fellow poets, and reflect on his life and work in interviews and essays. Schumacher..Ginsberg's biographer, offers a well-chosen selection of his writings in this copious collection: 34 poems, including the famous "Howl" and "Kaddish"; 10 essays, including his testimony regarding LSD before a special Senate Judiciary Committee ; assorted journal entries from 1949 to 1969, several unpublished; two lengthy interviews; and a dozen letters to prominent Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Burroughs and Robert Creeley. Forthright about fueling his creativity with a cornucopia of drugs, Ginsberg expounds on his interest in "all states of consciousness": dreams, spiritual ecstasy, and "preconscious, quasi-sleep" states. Besides Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Blake, he cites as influences William James, especially Varities of Religious Experience, and the poetry of James' student Gertrude Stein. In an "Independence Day Manifesto" in 1959, he proclaimed that America "is having a nervous breakdown", intent on oppressing poets for their allegedly anti-social behavior. But in a country "gone mad with materialism, a police-state America, a sexless and soulless America", poetry offered solace and wisdom. "Poetry", he contended, "is the record of individual insights into the secret soul of the individual and…into the soul of the w orld". A few years later, he again chided Americans for living in a "mental dictatorship" of materialism and conformity. If his solution - everyone should try LSD once - seems capricious, his critique is likely to resonate with contemporary readers. Except for brief introductions to the journal entries, Schumacher allows the selections to stand alone as testimony to an often outrageous, groundbreaking poet and tireless social activist."    

     tomorrow! - Allen's Ginsberg FBI files!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Haiku - 8 (Haiku continued part 2)

                                                                    [Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)]

I'm halfway through this book [R.H.Blyth – Haiku – Volume 1], so actually I could zap through the chief haiku of this book, according to about twenty years of reading and re-reading, before we're done.
Do most of you know these particular ones?  Is there anybody that knows these already?

Student 1:  Yes.
Student 2:  Yeah, some of them.

AG:  Some?  From these translations?

Student 1:  (Some)

AG:  (But) the vast majority (doesn't) - so I'd really like to [continue]. Because they're so dear, so perfect crystal clear.  [These are the] precious ones and they're part of the vocabulary of Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen, (Jack) Kerouac, myself, and many other people. I'd like to lay these all out because they're part of the basic armamentarium of modern poetry -- at least among the San Francisco Buddhist-influence school -- and appropriate to our sitting silent listening.  (So), page 205 - Have you heard these at all?

Student 2 :  Some of them.

AG:  Well, this is a terrific [one].  This one is one of the central ones of all:

How admirable
he who doesn't think life is fleeting
when he sees the lightning.

How admirable/he who doesn't think life is fleeting/when he sees the lightning.

That's always been, for me, one of the best reference points for cutting off conceptual blather.

This for space, as well as silliness.  That it's looseness of mind -- a fine silliness, or humor of a kind.

A handle on the moon
what a splendid fan.

That is putting up a handle -  A handle on the moon/what a splendid fan.

The women planting the rice.
Everything about them dirty
except their song.

Having slept,
the cat gets up and with great yawns
goes out lovemaking

The next few will be those I read to those who met with me in the credit course. 

Asking the way
all the bamboo hats
move together.

          [Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) -  from "32 Aspects of Customs and Manners" - Looking Suitable (1888)]

The fan seller
pulled one out
showing how to fan oneself.

Peddling [or] pushing the fans.  So eager.  A totally personal thing.  That's one, I think, that's from a painting or a brush drawing to begin with.  It's a tiny little Dickens novel, actually. The fan seller/pulled one out/showing how to fan oneself. In anxiety, to peddle the fans.

So what's not mentioned is that element -- like the frog jumping in the water with the sound of the water -- the anxiety. Simply, the action presented carries the generalization that might be made that there is anxiety by the poor, poverty-stricken, hungry little fan seller, so much so that she's developed all these life tricks or peddler's tricks or anxious moments to sell the fan.

 This in the realm of one that I noticed, which is - [Louis Zukofsky's]  "sight is where the eye hits" - I had a haiku myself after a long meditation ... let's see.

Snow mountain fields/seen through transparent wings of a fly/on the windowpane. That means you're observing actually so sharply you're actually looking and seeing what you can see through the wings of a fly on a windowpane.

By daylight,
the nape of the neck of the firefly
is red.

That's Basho.

And then a little extension of that:

The snake slid away
but the eyes that glared at me
remained in the grass.

A brushwood gate
for a lock
this snail.

Then, the following would probably be in the Vajrayana area, in a sense of turning what would be considered ugliness to beauty.  Uguisu is a traditional bird with a very sweet sound that's mentioned in haiku.

The Uguisu
on the slender plum branch.

And there's a parallel one, which [would] again be the Vajrayanic transformation of poison to nectar.

The young girl
blew her nose
in the morning glory.

Actually it says - "The young girl/blew her nose/in the evening glory"  (Another flower, less recognizable) - And there's another Basho haiku following that, referring to that:

Blowing my nose
on the blossom
Ah! the plum trees at their best.


Blowing my nose
on a plum blossoms.
Ah! the blossoms at their best.

I don't know.  I don't know the exact formation of it, but Basho's commenting on wiping his snot, or blowing his nose. Yeah - "Wiping my snot/on the flowers/Ah! the plum blossoms at their best." - "Wiping my snot/on the flowers/Ah! the plum blossoms at their best." 

That's Basho.  The most dignified and celebrated of haiku makers.