Saturday, July 23, 2011

A haiku a day

Poetry has been entering my life in leaps and bounds lately...

It all started at Glastonbury when L. inspired me to learn all the words to W.B.Yeats 'The Stolen Child' off by heart after she recited it to me amidst the flickering lights of tiny bonfires and flares at the stone circle (read it here and I encourage you to learn it too. There is something rather incredible about knowing that all these words and images and rythms are tucked away in my brain ready to be recited at a moment's notice as and when I like. And oh! how that last repeated line gets me everytime. The world is more full of weeping than I can understand).

I also met a (rather obnoxious and unfriendly) poet at Glastonbury. Meeting someone unfriendly in such a setting was really rather unusual, as ordinarily the random conversations that I have there with strangers are warm and friendly in a way that doesn't happen in 'real' life. Anyway, I took this random meeting as a sign that I too ought to write more poems - something he disagreed with. Poetry is not for everybody apparently, although why it should be reserved for him I'm not entirely sure, and neither was he when I asked him. Silly man. I will undo the sourness of this meeting by writing poems anyway!

Anyhoo, seeing as I've already made a fair few digressions, I shall take it upon myself to make just one more...I used to write poetry quite a lot when I was younger (about 11?) after a supply teacher (whose name is long since forgotten in the mists of time, but whose life lesson lives on) who was teaching our class for a few weeks when Mr Emmanuel broke his leg encouraged me to write a poem everyday. The important thing, she said, was not to judge whether the poem was good, per se, but that I take the time everyday to sit down and write one, as the only way to ever get good at writing poems was by writing poems. So that's exactly what I did everyday for about a month/six weeks (oh how I would love to find the notebook that they are all written in, it must surely exist somewhere in a box in my parent's house). I gave up at some point, but over the years I have written a few more. I won't pretend to think that I am any good at writing poems at all, nor that anybody should really care to read them. That isn't really the point. It's more for me, and putting them here will encourage me to keep at it this time.

There is something really special about organising words into carefully decided formats, whether that be a sonnet, a haiku, an epic long beast of a poem or free verse. With all this in mind, and some random conversations about how neat and natty haikus in particular are, I have recently decided that I will write a haiku everyday. Why a haiku? Well haikus are small, and can be written quite quickly, but these tiny poems can be a really good way of summing up your state of mind in a concise, yet convincing way. Constraints beget creativity, and these tiny poems force the magic that is hidden in words to reveal itself a little bit. There are different rules about what a haiku should contain and some people even play around with the syllable count - a decision which confuses me, but my simple rules are:
  • 5 - 7 - 5 syllables
  • Write in the present tense
  • Sum up state of mind/mood
  • Allude to nature/seasons as much as possible (to capture the transciense of life!)
And here without further ado, are my haikus a day from the last week. Some names may have been changed.

At home in summer,
Open windows welcome the
outside world inside

Saturday (This one is a bit weird. Probably best if I don't go into anymore detail). Suffice to say that the person here named Noel did something rather TERRIBLE when sleep-walking in my flat)
Screaming in the night
about a puddle of piss.
What's wrong with you, Noel?

Sunday (I permitted myself a double haiku to convey the amazing experience of running through the streets (admittedly a little tipsy) at dawn with my good friend A. after partying all night long
Running down the street,
Ridiculously alive
Time travellers, both.

'Tomorrow is here!'
We declare to the morning,
Skipping in our socks.

Sipping wine with you
In this dark, sweaty cavern
Catching up on life.

Multicoloured bird
flutters done onto the fence,
Stops me in my tracks

Delicate wagtails,
Followed by faceless demons,
Unravelling me

No concentration
Reading around the subject
Whilst the sky falls down

I will share my next week's worth of haikus in 7 days time...

Why not write a haiku in the comments below so I can share in a moment of your day?

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