Haiku – Poetry Friday

For the last two weeks I’ve broken my writing time into one hour chunks alternating with breaks. Stopping before I felt spent doubled (!!) my productivity. The only downside is having to re-focusing after taking each break. Remembering Laura and Robin‘s post about using haiku to get over writer’s block, I tried writing haiku — it worked like a charm. 17 syllables magically put my mind back into the flow of writing.
Here’s a couple of haiku I wrote. They’re underpolished, but they are my first haiku:

heads bowed by heavy
rain, the lilacs bend to touch
wet, greedy ground


cold floors; hot coffee —
another dawn. The signing birds
must have had their worms

If you want to learn how to write a haiku, I liked this post at Creative Writing Now.
Elaine at Wild Rose Reader hosts this week’s Poetry Friday, head on over.

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Sestina — Poetry Friday

Since our host this week, Anastasia, hosts STEM Friday as well as Poetry Friday, I wanted to share this mathematical septina I found while perusing the Multi-Author Poetry Blog Tour at UpperRubberBoot. Blogger JoAnne Growney wrote a great blog entry about the mathematics of sestinas and sestina variants. She included in her post a mathematical sestina variation — a septina.

Safety in Numbers by Harry Mathews

The enthusiasm with which I repeatedly declare you my one
And only confirms the fact that we are indeed two,
Not one: nor can anything we do ever let us feel three
(And this is no lisp-like alteration: it’s four
That’s a crowd, not a trinity), and our five
Fingers and toes multiplied leave us at six-

es and sevens where oneness is concerned, although seven
Might help if one was cabalistically inclined, and “one”
Sometimes is. But this “one” hardly means one, it means five
Million and supplies not even an illusion of relevance to us two
And our problems. Our parents, who obviously number four,
Made us, who are two; but who can subtract us from some
mythical three

To see the rest of this septina and other great mathematical poems, visit Joanne’s blog.

I have a fondness for sestinas. In college, I wrote a sestina after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s iconic Sestina. Here was the one I wrote:

Blue, like the color of autumn,
The rain fell, blown by the wind,
And flew across the field, saying goodbye
To the last memories I had pressed in my journal
Like dying leaves, that I will not forget-
These are thoughts I leave to my future selves, of you.

I could not let go these pictures of you,
That I took in my mind, as I lay that autumn,
Staring at the sky, full of clouds wisped by wind,
That waved to the earth they were passing, goodbye,
Like these words, that cover this page in my journal
That, in passing, you eyes will forget.

So many things I already forget:
Like the whispers of wintry things in you,
The way the flowers die off in autumn,
And you hair is blown astray by the wind
That waves the leaves in the trees goodbye.
I have sketched that for you in my journal.

To remember this, I keep a journal
That freezes each day, to not let me forget
How I once looked, sadly, at the though of you
Leaving, as the last berries leave, in autumn
When my company will be the moan of wind
That shall draw my eyes after, saying goodbye.

I spent the summer not thinking of goodbye,
While every memory I wrote in my journal,
Was an admission that you, too, I will forget
And all that will be left is the scent of you,
Like the distant smoke of leaves burning in autumn,
Painful and sharp, carried by the wind.

It is only that, it is only the wind
That understands how to properly say goodbye
As it, tremblingly, turns the pages of the journal
Showing me how, passing through, not to forget
So that it and I can leave, leave you
To the leaves and the chill and autumn.

The wind and I will say our good-byes
To you and to autumn together
And only the journal will forget this.


For more Poetry Friday links, visit Anastasia at Booktalking.

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As part of Ed’s Poetry March Madness I wrote an 8 line kids’ poem that used the word ‘androgynous.’
It was a pretty tough word so I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling, walking in circles, and scratching my head. In the end, I wrote three that were ok… I liked ‘Snacktime’ best but both of my boys preferred ‘The Dragonologist.’

Are we girl dragons or boy dragons?
     How can you tell?
Well, look at the very small scale on the tip of our nose…
Come on in…
     Come a little closer…
          …  just a liiiittle closer …


[PS: We’re androgynous. And you humans are gullible
and tasty.]

The Dragonologist
Dr. Elvis Prosser needs a chapter for his thesis,
Wants to know if dragons are a mister or a missus.
Dr. Elvis Prosser, though a noted dragonologist,
Comes up with a plan, that is utterly ri-di-cu-lous.
Dr. Elvis Prosser sneaks into a dragon’s cavern
Cautiously he strikes a match to light his miner’s lantern.
Prosser learns, alas, that they are hazardous and ravenous
Silly Prosser, don’t you know that dragons are androgynous.

The Snarlinks
They’re ravenous and gluttonous.
Their breath is rank and poisonous.
They’re mutinous and villainous —
Their lawlessness is oft discussed.
They live in dungeons, cavernous.
Their gender? It’s extraneous —
Approaching one’s too hazardous.
Perhaps they are androgynous.

Which poem would you have entered in Poetry March Madness?

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It’s not too late to take part in Poetry March Madness as a voter. Head on over to vote on your favorite poems!

For more poetry fun, join Greg over at Gotta Book for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

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Wintry Poems — Poetry Friday

The weather here has been awful — it finally snowed on Thursday night, but the beautiful snow didn’t last. Since then we have had gray, dreary days of rain and sleet that are washing the snow away. I’ve kept busy drinking tea and trying to tame the chaos in my studio. While cleaning, I came across a notebook of poems I wrote in ’96:

* * *
gray becomes me
i can blend into the wool
of endless winter afternoons
books, tea, and the promise
of stillness

* * *

Winter mornings come crisp
Like linens fresh from the wash
Clean smell and sharp lines
Severe and comforting
Repeated every washday
Without fail

For more poems, head to the Poetry Friday Roundup hosted by Tara at A Teaching Life.

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