HumpDay Haiku

Being that I am still deep in re-write mode on the solo poetry collection, I am introducing a little mid-week haiku to relieve my own state of anxiety. Books, it appears, are rather like delivering babies. I have been carrying this project around for more than six months. It is beginning to feel heavy, unwieldy. I am informed that in the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy many women just bark “I want this baby out!” I’m at that stage. I am impatient. My mentor temporises saying “You want your baby to have all its fingers and toes!”

There is also the shadow stuff that rears its ugly head…the ‘am I good enough?’ tape. Then there’s the experience of something akin to imposter syndrome. Call myself a poet?! This is Wobbly Wednesday stuff. Which is all self-indulgence. Then I take myself and the dogs up the lane to the holy well and say a prayer that the work will be good. Publishable good.

In the meantime, here’s something for Hump Day. One for sorrow…there is a lot of that going around in the world. The haiku shoguns will get their knickers in a twist because there is some end rhyme…quite unconsciously done, but there you are! There’s no pleasing some days.

Wednesday Haiku Wisdom

In the midst of some marathon re-writing, cutting and pasting, arranging the sequence of poems for my debut solo poetry collection, I felt the need to haiku.

I have written (and failed to write) many haiku, senryu and tanka in my day. Often when I am busy, but have poetry simmering on the back burner of my brain, haiku is my go-to form to keep my hand in. Then I take a little fun time out illustrating it with Adobe Spark. Or you might call that avoidance activity. Both might be correct assessments. Stirring the creative pot takes many different forms. Either way, it helps keep me going when the neck pain and scrunched over the laptop shoulder hunch are knocking me out.

After the storms, the blink of sunshine that made for some Sunday afternoon gardening and outdoor tea drinking, we now have…

Now…back to work!

Outside

I am away on a field trip later this morning that will feed the imagination of students participating in a Creative Ireland project. It is a collaboration between a ceramacist and me,my role being heritage background on place and natural heritage(trees and rocks), as well as some creative writing on both subjects. Museums fill the creative well. When it came to poetry practice this morning I turned to photos taken on my Scotland trip the first week in May. One artist, Ross Hamilton Frew, in an exhibit in Glasgow’s Lighthouse, accompanied his visual art with haiku. The opening line was “Outside My Room.” So I write a series of haiku and a tanka, using that as the opening line. 

Outside my room

The world is a play of light

Chiarascuro

 

Outside my room

Is a still and green jungle

Burgeoning summer

Outside my room

Bees sup on mallow’s nectar

The world continues

Outside my room

Is much like inside my room

Alive, untidy

We each have certain passions

That breach the boundary walls

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
The original artwork that sparked this morning’s poetry practice.
The featured image today is a snap I took in the library of Skail Home Farm at Skara Brae, Scotland.

Humming

It is a blustery bank holiday Monday here in Ireland. After a long dry spell, we have had rain and periods of alternating chilliness and warm, sticky  intervals.  My husband was up early and out in the garden working before the first downpour. And really, all I want to write this morning is a little haiku. It is a new moon today in that most communicative of signs, Gemini. But somehow, this morning, less is more in the words department. 

What I heard through the window

A bee’s humming in the garden

No! My husband working

Blissed

I read it aloud to him when he came in and he is all smiley and pleased looking. He wants it as a meme. Or illustrated. Or hung up in a frame.

Make that your #MondayMotivation.

When a Haiku is NOT Haiku ?

Call just any old three line 5-7-5 or seventeen syllable a haiku and you could find yourself on the samurai sword point of the Haiku Shoguns. Because, gentle reader, who may now be quivering in anxiety, a haiku must have a seasonal word or kigo. It is a zen-like contemplation on the eternal wisdom of nature. With a little “Ah-ha!” of enlightenment thrown in.

Everything else is mostly senryu, which takes a gently humourous slant on human foibles. Or it might be a katauta, which is senyu for lovers. Which may segue into sedoka, a kind of three line back and forth between the two parties.

Everything else three line and seventeen syllables is zappai. Are you keeping up?

Here’s how…

Haiku 1

Gorse covered hillside
Wind drifts scent of coconut
An April's chill day

No earth shattering “Ah-ha!”, I know. I didn’t say it was a good example! I am barely awake, much less enlightened at this time of morning! The next one I wrote does have a seasonal hint (hawthorn = May), but does have the little humourous rib.

Haiku 2

Hawthorn's lace and frill
Edging pasture's boundaries
Farmer frippery

Next up is a katauta:

Over many seasons
I have watched your loving hands
I see signs - aging

which then becomes a sedoka when you add the following three lines.

Even your child-size hands
Finally have all grown up
In your magic gloves

Finally, the everything else zappai.

The house is so still
Outside barely a breeze stirs
Making me restless

So now you know when a haiku is really not a haiku. You shall be spared the haiku shogun’s samurai sword point. Just remember. 1) Don’t rhyme. 2) No more than seventeen syllables all in. 3) And use that seasonal hint. And 4) If you have reached an enlightening moment you have haiku gold!

Love and Work in Poetry

Another day and another poetry form in the Poetry Daily. Some mornings I am stuck. Then I refer to a wonder article that lists 100 Poetry Forms on http://writersdigest.com. At random I pick one I have never heard of before. I was feeling a bit jaded this morning so I plucked the Dodoitsu from the list. I have long played with haiku and senryu, so another Japanese form seemed perfect for a morning when I wanted to write in brief. With the dodoitsu you have the broad expanse of a further nine syllables to play around with! Yes, a rash ration of a whole twenty six syllables arranged in four lines. Like haiku and senryu, there is no rhyme. The first three lines have seven syllables each. The capping line has five syllables. The poetry form tends to take ‘love and work with a comical twist’ as its subject according to the website article.

So I flexed my fingers and finally got out my notebook and pen for poetry practice. I do find Japanese poetry forms kind of zen. Face the blank page, instead of a blank wall. But often poignant. Also often very funny.

Another Kind of Zen

First, the poet awakens
Pause for tea ceremony
Then takes up her fountain pen
Bows to the blank page

Creative Process

The creative process is
a building skip full of flops,
retakes, almost but not quites
But still. Keep trying!


Long Love

Well! we can still huff and puff
Argue the toss all bluster
Lower lip bound to quiver
Then kiss "Goodnight, Love!"


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

So How Was Your Week?

We had a storm yesterday and the wind howled around the southwest corner of the house, which kept me awake. So I slept in. Walked the little dog first. Just because. I’d like to say it was mostly for his benefit, but there may also have been an element of writer’s displacement activity. The morning’s fresh and not very cold. I saw blackthorn blossom a few miles down our lane yesterday. Very early, just as last year I thought it would never arrive.

Once I had a cup of green tea (one friend asks why I drink grass!), and after opening a tin of tuna for some of the cats, I got down to poetry practice. I warmed up a bit with a haiku.

Daffodils face down
Lick the mud
Deep roots
Weather wind rock

That took all of a half hour of tooling around with two line, three line, then four line format for the total of fourteen syllables! But then I had another thought.

Week at a Glance

Sunday - recreate

Monday - revise and remake

Tuesday - learn and teach

Wednesday
-collaborate

Thursday - words' far read

Friday - mess obliterate

Saturday - bake cake.



Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

So how was your week?

Featured Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Spring Haiku

Sorry, but out where I live nature and the seasons are really in your face. Some days, the poetry practice just defaults to haiku and senryu. It comes with the territory when you live in a geopark I suppose. Haiku, senryu and micropoems certainly work as a poetry etude for me this morning.

Earth incubates
Her womb warm
Even when its cold
outside-
Still growth
Every spring
Nature's in your face
Surprise!
Tweet, caw, coo-woo, chuckle
Neighbour's conversation
Early morning
Catkins
Caterpillar fuzzy
Sun bright
This misty morning

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunrise Haiku

Since the spruce plantation across the lane from us has been part felled (but not clear cut, we saw to it they knew it was red squirrel habitat), we have a clear view of the sun rising over the Playbank. Today, I am out teaching in the morning, so poetry practice is pre-dawn, writing in the dark with my illuminato pen with the curtains wide to see dawn arrive. Haiku felt appropriate somehow. Three emerged by sun up.

A plump peace slice
Moon drips its juice
Over the hump of hill
How ink black the sky
How white the blank page
How still before the bird's sing

A suspicion of light
Stains the horizon
Wisdom arrives this way

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured photo is of the Playbank, Co. Cavan.

January Micro(scopic) Poems

It is one of those bright winter mornings where there is real fire in the sun’s rays. You can understand why Brigid’s feast day is this time of year. You can also understand why some translate her name as ‘bright arrow.’ She is also described as a ‘sun gold’ or ‘red gold’ woman. On this Irish morning I get it. It is very real and imminent.

For my poetry practice this morning I felt drawn to writing haiku, senryu and micropoems. Micropoems are little things. Haiku celebrate a (hopefully) epiphanous moment in nature; senryu look (often wryly, frequently fondly and humourously) at human nature. They do it in seventeen syllables or less. Micropoems cover the rest of the tiny poems that fulfill neither technical description. They have a wider thematic brief and also tend to have titles, whereas haiku and senyru go out into the world nameless.

This was actually how I started the day.

 A thump as beak meets glass
Hey! Open up the Birdy's Café!

This time of year in Celtic lore is considered a wrestling match between Mother Winter, the Cailleach, and the Maiden, Brighid.

The Last of the Cailleach

Safe in her cave
Sucking marrow from bone
Bright rays piece her fastness

Actually, it is often the coldest weather right at this time of year in Ireland. Often this is the the last push for snow and ice at Imbolc, so we acknowledge this by making hearty stews and mashed potato or ham and colcannon. Neeps are not just for Burn’s night either. Turnip and bacon is pure January comfort food. Making a stew from shin of beef probably inspired this.J

To fire our bellies
We want to sup marrow from bone
Hungry days

But then the Maiden Brigid is right on the threshold of the season and year. Spring is coming. We see it in the bulbs popping up. The gorse has bloomed again in this upland country. (And it’s scent is almost tropical! True!) This little poem is a riff on the old custom of welcoming St. Brigid into you house, opening your front door and saying the welcome aloud.

These fiery rays
Melting morning's frost
Brigid is welcome! She is!
A welcome to Brigid, acknowledging both her saintly and goddess status

This is a week where I will be giving public readings of some of my Brigid inspired poems, weaving St. Brigid’s crosses, telling Her folklore to groups and generally having a lot of fun. It is time to bake my special seed cake because we are on the threshold of new growth. It’s time! We can feel it in our belly.