Haiku is, perhaps, the most difficult form to ‘get right’! While its modern avatar has rebelled against almost all the original rules, it tries to retain the essence and be both simple and intense, brief and expansive, complete and still leave the reader imagining more.
These are three haiku from a little chapbook called “On the Rough Road” that I put together a few years ago. The haiku were written in response to prompts from Basho’s travelogue, Oku no hosimichi (that roughly translates to “The narrow road to the deep north”), offered on a haiku group called Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. To read the chapbook, just follow the instructions here.
* slowly, softly yesterday slides out of this morning
* mourning — the way the sky brushes a broken wing
* like a horizon splitting two worlds — goodbye
*************** And four new ones inspired by the onset of the monsoon….
(1) a different world a different rain still this hesitation
(2) another rainy night another moonless sky one could get used to this
(3) she runs faster as if there is still a chance… who can stop the June rain?
(4) leaves and branches petals strewn on wet asphalt last night wasn’t gentle
On the Rough Road is a collection of haiku that I first put together in 2016 following a series of prompts on ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’ based on Matsuo Basho’s ‘Oku no hosimichi’ (Narrow road to the Deep North)
Recently, I redesigned and edited the chapbook and though it seemed to take forever, it was a nostalgic walk through old haiku and haibun I had written, giving me fresh insight into my state of mind and writing style, then – and now.
Over the years, I’ve surely learnt a thing or two, but also lost something. I don’t entirely know what that is, but I believe some of my best haiku are in this little chapbook. For more details, check this link.
Why does it seem like more has happened in 11 days of this year than in 12 months of 2020? Sigh.
Am grateful to all those who have been reading and responding to my chapbook “The night is my mirror”. It has given me the momentum I need for a couple of new projects this year. A book, perhaps, and an anthology, maybe. Fingers crossed!
Meanwhile, I read this beautiful collection by Susan Chast. I posted a review on Instagram (@tp_poetry), but here it is again for those who don’t do the ‘gram. The book is available on Lulu.com and I totally recommend you grab a copy.
Grieving into love: Friend, Family, Neighbour – poetry by Susan Chast
An ode to grief, a handbook of acceptance and healing, a heartfelt record of love for self and family and community, this collection is a cathartic expression of the medley of emotions that comes with loss. Susan both enthrals and educates with standout lines like these that will forever become part of your everyday lexicon:
“But birds,birds! I’ve opened the window/ and thrown out the dead. Now you must leave, too./ I’m cleaning out the nest, longing to fly.” -Trying to move, but birds are in the way
“Last time it rained, I stood arm in/ arm with a white pine to feel drops/ glide on skin, to drink with my fingers.” – Becoming a weather Vane
“…Nothing is fuller than this moment/ of life caught in the lens of emergency.” – The metaphysics of family emergency
“Timber. Timber. O!/ Call loud for the fallen whose/ roots still feed the earth” – Timber
“Judas moaned. Ah, rope. Was I ever in control?/ Who profited when I took money for my soul?” – A very good deal, maybe
“So, friend, let’s talk about making Black Lives/ Matter while we walk six safe feet apart.” – I am white
Wish you a year of fruitful reading and writing. Stay safe, while virus vs vaccine plays out!
Through the lockdown and the near-isolation, words were hard to find, but this came together in the last few weeks and I am delighted to close the year with relief, gratitude and hope.
I think the poems are real and personal and have been churned out by the silence, unease and reluctant acceptance that was 2020. If you’d like to read the chapbook, do give me a shout and your email information. and I will send you a copy. (leave it in the comments section or write to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Happy holidays and a very happy new year.
This micropoem was selected by a reader from Ireland, Jane Carson, who reimagined it and posted it on instagram with a beautiful soft background. I love how poems resonate differently with readers and grow bigger than the poet’s imagination. The original melancholy has somehow morphed into a kind of optimism.
A little chapbook to end a year that has been challenging in so many ways. This collection of poems came from the long months of lockdown and silence. The poems are personal and were hard to write. I hope you can connect with them in your own way.
Write to email@example.com for your free PDF copy.
Warm wishes for a better, hopeful, safe and healthy 2021.
Have you noticed how conversations on aging, mortality and their peripheral existential conundrums elicit the most incongruous responses? In the last month, I’ve heard how age is just a number, how 50 is the new 30, how I now have the ‘wisdom’ I always wanted, how grey is the new black, how the time is now ripe to ‘pursue my passion’ and how growing old is liberating, especially for a woman! I hoped my reaction to such collective enthusiasm would be nuanced – ranging from an eye roll to a shrug – instead, of course, I found new variations between animated defence and argumentative disgust. Not quite in the ‘wisdom I always wanted’ category, clearly! Truth is, everyone marks a milestone in their own way. There’s always something to celebrate, much to ponder, perhaps to regret, even to silently fear. Some find equanimity and grace, some find wild abandon, some find courage, some find love, some walk away, some find excuses, some discover new challenges to overcome – some write poems.
the more I learn
the more I know
about things I will never know
I am writing a set of 10 poems on turning 50 that I will be ready to send out pretty soon. They won’t be posted on this blog but if you’d like me to send you a copy of the PDF, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org