Category Archives: haiku

Why I have difficulty writing haiku (again)

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Why I have difficulty writing haiku

problem with haiku
definite article is
first casualty

next casualty
indefinite article
makes me sound little

like Japanese guard
in prison camp in movie
world war two movie

who for some reason
is speaking English (how? why?)
with staccato voice

or perhaps I am
po-faced guru on mountain
dispensing bromides:

crow flies at midnight
in front of luminous moon
affair ends badly

all because I am
in service to, at mercy
of, syllable count.

Sound Heard While Replacing The Basement Toilet (plumbing tanka)

Sunrise over Planet Cistern

Sound Heard While Replacing The Basement Toilet

a ghostly whoosh
echoes down the open pipe
a toilet flushing

in a neighbor’s house uphill
yes, we are all connected.

I hardly ever do this but here’s a challenge to all you poets out there: write a poem about plumbing. There are no rules, write about anything – an ode to your favourite plunger, a sonnet about a dripping tap, a haiku about flexible hoses!

Link back to this post if you like, so I can read your poems.

Spiders, Vacuums and Mike Pence’s Head.

Domestic Terror

allergens loiter

on the vacuum’s humid breath

spiders abandon

web based solutions

seek cover in crevices

domestic terror.

Sarah over at dverse asks us to write about things that creep and crawl, so I thought I would resurrect these two poems. (The one below was inspired by a fly that appeared on Mike Pence’s head during a vice presidential debate back in the glory days of demagoguery.)

The Fly on Top of Mike Pence’s Head Speaks

It’s so white up here.
What’s that fragrance?
Is it Rogaine?
Is it piety?
Is it Rogaine and piety?
You seem a little nervous
around the women folk, Mike.
Can I recommend a good conditioner?

Ironic Distancing (with bonus haiku)…redux.

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Ironic Distancing

The mind wanders
I think of a word that rhymes with ‘banker’
and marvel at how
in the middle of a global crisis
my brain still tilts
towards the trivial, the juvenile.
I try a sound poem
panic, pandemic, pandemonium
but it’s missing something,
panache, perhaps.
I make up a joke involving Peter Pan
but decide now is not the time to share it.
I detect the late onset of maturity
and feel depressed.
I text some friends,
we try to out-snide each other
but after a while
we are all chewing on the same bone.
I’m besieged by an idiocy of idioms –
the whole nine yards
the whole kit and caboodle
and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I re-assess my relationship with surfaces
I can no longer count on
that counter to lean on,
and as someone inclined
to whistle past the graveyard
walk past the writing on the wall
I have to admit
that the object in the mirror
was a lot closer
than it first appeared.

I write a haiku

four in the morning
moon shining on toilet bowl
porcelain pathway.

Eat your heart out! Basho!

Victoria over at dverse asks us to write a soliloquy incorporating one or more poetic devices, this one is heavy on alliteration with a bit of internal rhyme. It was previously published here, mid- pandemic last year.

Down by Jericho Beach (Edit)

 

Social distancing (3)

 

Down by Jericho Beach 

the trees look guilty
the ocean is ill at ease
no one’s fault, but still…..

the courts are empty
no tennis ball pock pock pock
Canada geese honk

eagles isolate
my face itches like crazy
demands to be scratched

and those ducks, they don’t know squat
about social distancing.

 

Photo “Social Distancing”

 

The  challenge from Grace over at dverse is to write a poem using personification and/or imagery:

Personification

A figure of speech in which the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a nonhuman form as if it were a person.

When I read the prompt I thought of this poem from back in April 2020, I made a small edit.

Bike Ride by the Fraser River

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Bike Ride by the Fraser River

tug boats and log booms
the plaid twock of a golf ball
a band playing soul

the sweet, sweet smell of Purell
backyard wedding, guests on Zoom.

 

The challenge over at earthweal is

“STRANGE WORLD is the theme of this challenge. Take the opportunity to assess what’s become so strange in your world……”

Stepping Out (A Well-Made Thing)

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Stepping Out

and inside the mask
a faint whiff of grease
from this morning’s eggs

stepping out, he finds
the outdoors secure,
still, in its greatness
the sea still open
the sky limitless
the sky, the limit
the sky, off limits.

Brendan’s post over at earthweal (https://earthweal.com/2020/06/22/earthweal-weekly-challenge-culture-and-nature/  ) asks us to write about “the intersection of culture and nature”. He asks:

How do you see yourself as a poet of culture and nature?”

Well, I have never considered myself a poet of nature. I have to come at it sideways. Here is a poem about the intersection of pop culture and nature.

Jerry Seinfeld takes a walk in the park and writes a haiku
Why, when dogs chase birds,
do we see optimism
not futility.

Brendan asks:

“If your life’s work were assembled in one silo, who would it feed?”

Well, I think my life’s work so far, could probably be served as a light snack and I’m happy with that. I am not particularly ambitious. Stephen Hawkins wrote “The Theory of Everything”. I would be happy writing “The Theory of a Few Things”. I read an interview with Leonard Cohen in which he spoke of tending to his garden. He implied modestly that his garden was small but that he took good care of it. He was talking of course of his particular talent and, I think, of how one should take care of what one is good at, know your talent (big or small, major or minor) and cultivate it.

Brendan asks “What is a well-made thing?”

(You really should read Brendan’s post, he poses a lot of questions, and is, as always informative and erudite)

When I first started writing poetry, I wrote mostly free verse. Then when I started blogging, I became more aware of short verse forms, in particular, the haiku and the tanka. I see poetry as being similar to sculpture or wood carving, whereas novel writing is more like architecture. The poet takes a large slab of words or a tree stump of words and whittles it down to a small well-made thing. When writing short poems I find a form is useful. I can’t really write traditional haiku. I can’t summon the required ineffability and the results end up po-faced, self-conscious, weighed down by solemnity. But I do like the arbitrary restriction or the discipline, for example, all the lines in the first poem above contain 5 syllables. I read a book of poems recently by Paula Meehan, the Irish Poet, in which every poem contains nine lines and every line contains nine syllables and amazingly she does this without making it obvious (the name of the book is “Geomantic”). Anyway, here is one more attempt at a well-made thing, and yes, nature is involved.

One Swallow

one swallow does not
one tries to swallow one’s pride
one swallow does not

when it comes to (what else?) Spring
one swallow does not do it.

Crow Ops

 

 

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Crow Ops

crows chasing eagle
across the evening sky
solidarity

crows chasing eagle
across the evening sky
there’s strength in numbers

crows chasing eagle
across the evening sky
half-moon, scattered cloud.

 

Today the challenge from Frank over at Dverse is to “write three-line poems or poems having mainly three-line stanzas.”

Check out Frank’s post here.  https://dversepoets.com/2020/06/04/tercets/