Haiku, known for its 5/7/5 syllabics, was developed in the 17th century and remains poetry’s least-intimidating form. Its effectiveness lies in a combination of imagery, brevity (can be read in a breath), and sense of illumination.
It’s with this in mind that local poet and Pittsburgh firefighter Scott Pyle freshly spins his second collection of haiku-like work, Seeking Fire.
The 74 pages of brief poems are often paired with thumbprint-sized black-and-white photos that document both the everyday and his working life. A favorite, “Endings,” reads “outside I-Hop / honey packet oozes / deathtrap for ants,” showcasing a reverence for life and the unintended consequences of all things to-go. In another passage, from “Taking the Hydrant,” Pyle writes, “stamp bags: ‘King of Death’ / work junkie to no avail / royal decree,” blending social issues with gallows humor earned while working in the trenches of human suffering.
Pyle showcases his keen eyes in “Meditations,” writing, “outside firehouse / this plant we thought a weed / sunflowers.” The poem leans on insights gained from observing the natural world, and like Seeking Fire, often exceeds expectations.