On this last day of the first edition of Micropoetry Month, I thought we’d take a look at the Jisei, the Japanese Death Poem. The Jisei, written about death in general or about one’s own imminent death, reflects the poet’s contemplation of his mortality, of what was and what comes next both in the context of self and universe.
One translation of Basho’s famous Jisei goes like this:
On a journey, ill—
And my dreams on withered fields
Are wandering still.
I attempted a jisei a couple of years ago, here’s another shot at it. Share your micropoem, about death or maybe about life, using comments or Mister Linky.
And when I realize
there was no now,
that life, like time, was a linear illusion.
A cherita as well in the same tone:
she wrote her jisei in six lines
one line about
the fickle, waning moon
two about a persistent mist,
and three about a hobbled dream
waiting for a perfect night
A very warm note of thanks to everyone who was part of Micropoetry Month – as reader, participant, inspiration or supporter. Thank you for your poems, your likes, your comments. I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed reading. And I hope we can do this, or something like this, again soon. Meanwhile, I will continue to post micropoetry and other poems on this blog and haibun on my other blog Phantom Road. You can find me on twitter @tp_poetry. See you on the trail!
With just one more day left, Micropoetry Month pulls away to a bittersweet end. Writing everyday was pleasure and pain. Was joy and angst. Was exhilarating and draining. Was necessary and random. Was everything poetry is. And isn’t.
I have a short poem today inspired by a Midweek prompt at Poets United If you haven’t visited the group, be sure you will always find great poems to read, much to learn and new friends to make.
I wait outside the temple gate,
my feet shackled by my disbelief
to the nothingness,
my questions cast down into the dirt
like glass marbles,
the urchins run up to play with them
shooting one into another
letting them explode into a thousand universes,
one was carried away
in a small, grubby hand
through the carved double doors,
my question going where I
would not, where I could not,
its innocent eyes daring me
like an answer.
Share your poem using comments or Mister Linky. And stay tuned for the final Micropoetry Month post tomorrow!!!
As we start counting down the last three days of November, I want to share another Cherita, a form that is becoming increasingly popular. If you’re just learning about this form, it is a six line poem, broken into three verses. The first verse has 1 line, the second has 2 and the third has 3. Also, the cherita is a story-poem that suggests there is always more to the tale!
Try (another) one or any other form of micropoetry and bring it here using comments or Mister Linky.
maybe I wasn’t thinking
maybe a thought
was passing through
a dandelion’s tryst
with the wet
I’ve always wanted to try the “American Sentence” but it seemed rather intimidating. How can one sentence be a poem? Can it? If you’re new to the form, there’s a ton of information online including here.
Allen Ginsberg visualized 17 syllables in one straight line encapsulating the ‘shadow of the moment’. This is an interesting ask. Also, without the constraints of haiku, the form paints more modern images in an everyday context-observations of life as it passes, reflecting the crude, raw face of reality.
Well, I had to try it now, as we slip into the last few days of Micropoetry Month!!! Share your ‘American Sentence’ or any other form of micropoetry using comments or Mister Linky.
Taking a picture with a strange cloud, I stumble over its shadow.
How easily I reduce my day into unpunctuated texts.
See this round earth flatten itself into rectangular devices.
From Basho to Ginsberg, a thought stretches, then curls, then stretches again.
Sunday morning, the sky too wears the grey silence of a hangover.
I’ve never attempted a cinquain before. I had to look up the rules and found that the original form developed by Adelaide Crapsey expected a seemingly unmanageable accentual stress rule as well as a syllabic pattern. I am writing this just as a 22 syllable poem following the challenging 2/4/6/8/2 pattern. I think this will be an exciting form once I figure out the best way to use the opening and closing two-syllable lines! Here’s my attempt- the theme today is love!
at summer’s end
when fireflies stoke the burn
the moon melts into liquid heat
in the morning
I can love with reason
but the night succumbs to the stars
the angry wind
the hungry lick of rain
the storm that wraps our nakedness
like morning dew on grass
does it know those secrets of love
Share your micropoem using comments or Mister Linky.
A Quadrille (44 word poem) this morning that came out of nowhere! Sometimes, you start writing something and it takes on a life of its own and picks its own form, chooses its own words and then dares you to make a single change. The poet then, is just a channel, a medium for thoughts even he or she has not fully understood.
Spark your own micropoem and share using comments or Mister Linky! Do stop to read the lovely poems shared by fellow bloggers!
I want to know
what birds call the sky,
how fish fear the land,
where the wind thinks it’s going,
how stars prepare for death.
It can’t be just me
sitting on the edge,
with all these words
that cannot explain
what I’m feeling.
Alright, if you’ve got a minute today…!!
A minute poem has 12 lines of 60 syllables broken into in 3 stanzas, following the 8/4/4/4 syllable pattern and the aabb/ ccdd/ eeff/ rhyme scheme. Write your micropoem and share using comments or Mister Linky!
shut down the weapon factories
find ways for peace
question your gun
question your son
pack up the sprawling tent cities
children need homes
our dead need tombs
who are they truly beating for
these drums of war
what are your lies
what is their price
I tried the Naani form in the first week of Micropoetry Month. It is a four line poem that has 20-25 syllables. The first two lines provide the subject that the next two bring to an interesting close.
Thought we’d give it another shot as we make our way into the last week of November. Share your micropoem using comments or Mister Linky and do stop to read poems shared by fellow bloggers.
He once raged against
the colonial sahibs-
I eulogize grandpa
in the Queen’s English.
When all your questions
have the same answer,
you’ll find all your answers
came from a single question.
Love finds its
own direction somehow,
even the river cannot swim
back to the mountain.
I love the Ghazal – it is lyrical, challenging and utterly beautiful when it comes out right. The repeating end word and rhyming word of each couplet define the cadence of the ghazal and direct its mood. No one writes it better in English than Agha Shahid Ali, one of my favourite poets.
Try a ghazal or any other form of micropoetry and share via comments or Mister Linky.
My attempt today references the legendary romance of Prince Salim and Anarkali, a dancer in the court of his father, the great Emperor Akbar.
Briefly, behind harem veils, where the moon wind gently rose,
a prince sought his father’s concubine, a soft, heavenly rose.
The king burned in royal wrath, the denouement broke their hearts,
she was buried alive under the stones, where the Jamuna quickly rose.
You spoke of Salim and Anarkali, intolerable even to fate,
he died as the mighty Jahangir, she lives on, a stately rose.
I remember the sky that night, impossibility fell like rain,
wet skin grew of fatal hope, though new suns cruelly rose.
The climax of human opera, the drama of the unfulfilled,
tragedy stains god and tomb and the death-hued pearly rose.
They say poets shouldn’t write poems about poetry… but then, who else will!
What about poetry though? Bring your thoughts on poetry- how far does it reach, can it make a difference, are people who aren’t writing poetry, reading poetry? Or do you write for yourself, because you can, because you have to and it doesn’t matter if anyone else reads it or not. How do you engage readers, be effective, cause change, does that even matter? Be a poet, writing about poetry, for today!!
Share your micropoem through comments or using Mister Linky. Hope you also stop by to read the lovely poems shared by fellow bloggers.
He sits across from me
on the 8.14 train,
his eyes keen on the bottom half
of his folded tabloid,
I read the poem hanging upside down
on the back of his paper,
its silenced voice smelling of curdled ink,
its forced smile overturned into grief,
its wordless monochrome arms,
flapping like oversized shrouds,
unable to hold up the new world order.
He looks up and smiles politely,
turning the page.