Haiku - April 2014

It's the 17th again, and today is Haiku day. (5-7-5 = 17, hence the 17th day of each month.)

I was listening to the greater horned owl late one night, and decided to see if I could capture something of that moment in haiku...

The nightly train wails,

Owl flies over prey. Inside -

We dream of safety


Haiku - March 2014

I decided to try and create my own haiku. Remember haiku are made up of three lines, and five, seven and five syllable format.

This is my first one for March:

A warm shaft of sun

Attracts the sleeping wise one.

A house needs a cat!


Haiku - February 2014

I am still reading the Haiku book by Patt, Warkentyne and Till. (ISBN 978-0-7649-5610-2.) The authors have chosen haiku composed by renowned Japenese haiku masters and divided them up by the seasons. I thought it was fitting since we are still in winter to quote another haiku about winter, from this book.


Plains and mountains

all enveloped in snow-

there is nothing else.


Joso, (1661 - 1704)

Haiku are composed of 17 syllables, hence haiku = 17th day of each month.

Why Poetry?

The other day I was having lunch with some colleagues who I usually see infrequently, and I was asked what Challenge I had undertaken last year, and this year. Apparently for this particular person the fact that a couple of years ago I had shared one of my challenges with her, had stood out in her mind. I have had a photo a day challenge; Eat less, move more challenge, the 10,000 step a day challenge, the Every Friday is Poetry day (last year) and finally this year, Every 17th of the month is Haiku Day. Perhaps this challenge stuff is a little unusual. I guess it's not really usual for people to take photos of their food?

I got to explaining to my colleague why poetry? I explained that I had always loved poetry at school and later at college. I loved reading it, analysing it, and talking about what it could mean. I loved hearing the words. There is nothing accidental about the choice of word, line or syllable in poems. I think that reading and thinking about poetry engages all parts of the brain that help with analyzing, that help with the creative and that help with our thought processes. I believe that poetry is important in helping us exercise that muscle, the brain.

I still have quite a few of my old poetry books from school and college. Some books have mysteriously vanished in the move (probably I gave them away.) I have scribbled in places all over certain poems (in pencil of course.) And now so many decades later, I can read those poems, and almost remember what I was thinking, and feeling back in those days. It's like a photograph, a snap shot, a moment frozen in time.

I remember in college sitting with my dear friend (who I still keep in contact with through text, email and the very occastional, and infrequent visit) in the 'Varsity canteen, over a plate of very greasy french fries composing what we later dubbed "Canteen Poetry." We thought that this was hilarious. I think my friend submitted the poem to one of the college newspapers, and it was published. She still has that poem.

So, I guess I have so many positive associations with poetry, that for me, the question is not "why poetry?" It is simply, why not?

Haiku - 17 syllables, 17th of every month

Haiku is a poetic form that when written in English it is usually composed of 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables respectively. Check out the Wiki post on Haiku. 

For 2014 I plan to select a haiku and post it on the 17th day of every month. 17 syllyables = the 17th day of the month. Corny I know, but this is my blog after all! I also happened to get a Christmas present about Haiku poetry from my sister in law. It's called "Haiku, Japanese Art and Poetry" by Judith Patt, Michiko Wartentyne, and Barry Till. ISBN # 978-0-7649-5610-2. It's a beautiful book.


Friday Poetry: Poetry by Marianne Moore

I, too dislike it: There are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.

Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in

it after all, a place for the genuine.

Hands that can grasp, eyes

that can dilate, hair that can rise

if it must, these things are important not because a


high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are

useful. When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,

the same thing may be said for all of us, that we

do not admire what

we cannot understand: the bat

holding on upside down or in quest for something to


eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless

wolf under a tree, the immovable critic twitching

his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base-

ball fan, the statistician-

nor is it valid

to discriminate against "business documents and


school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One

must make a distinction

however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,

the result in not poetry,

nor till the poets among us can be

"literalists of

the imagination" - above

insolence and triviality and can present


for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,

shall we have

it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,

the raw material of poetry in

all its rawness and

that which is on the other hand

genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

Christmas Poetry: The Journey of the Magi, by T.S. Eliot

"A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter."

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was folly.


Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow-line, smelling of vegetation,

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky.

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continuted

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Find the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.


All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we led that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Friday Poetry: The Buzzard, by David Hodges

Awkward, hunched, high up

among bare branches,

sharp-taloned hunter,

reliving the day's

missed chances,

staring downwind

through the icy landscape,

sifting images of prey:

nothing misses

his sharp eye.


Bright sunlight catches

something moving

out of cover,

and in an instant

he's a blur of feathers,

pure killing machine

transformed again

in his awesome

hunting flight.

Friday Poetry: The Zebras, by Roy Campbell

From the dark woods that breathe of fallen showers,

harnessed with level rays in golden reins,

The zebras draw the dawn across the plains

Wading knee-deep among the scarlet flowers.

The sunlight, zithering their flanks with fire,

Flashes between the shadows as they pass

Barred with electric tremors through the grass

Like wind along the gold strings of a lyre.

Into the flushed air snorting rosy plumes

That smoulder round their feet in drifting fumes,

With dove-like voices call the distant fillies,

While round the herds the stallion wheels his flight,

Engine of beauty volted with delight,

To roll his mare among the trampled lilies.