Tag Archives: haiku

A Crowded Day…

I had a blood test this morning so I hauled myself out of bed at 6.30 and muttered my way around the house.

By 7.05 I was yelling abuse at someone who was having trouble lining up his car to take a ticket from the machine and gain access to the car park. Unfortunately I’d already wound my window down in readiness to reaching for my ticket so he heard more of my comments than I’d really intended. The atmosphere, as we stepped out of our cars after parking, was a touch frosty.

At 7.10 I was ready and waiting with ticket 110 clasped in my hand. At 7.14 they called ticket 103. I read some more of my book on Vikings and watched the big screen with their advert for the NHS. I’m not sure why they need to spend money on promotional films, it’s not like there’s a rival health service or anything.

They got to me just after 7.30, which wasn’t too bad. I think I probably passed, as the blood seemed to flow well. In fact it was a bit tricky to stop it. There has been no phone call so I’m hoping to get at least two weeks before another test.

Back at the car I checked my leaky tyre and noticed it was looking quite flat. This only affected the bottom of the tyre but these things have a tendency to spread. As I’d blown it up less than 24 hours earlier I decided action was needed.  My original plan had been to slot it in between jobs in the afternoon, but this clearly needed action now.

My local garage opens at 7.00 so they put the spare on for me. There were two nails in the leaky tyre, and, to make things worse, considerable wear inside the tyre where the tracking appears to be out. I’m going to pick up the new tyre tomorrow morning and it looks like I’ll be getting the tracking done soon too. I’m definitely not buying expensive tyres again – I’ve had nothing but bad luck with this set.

After that I had time to impersonate Hemingway writing in a Parisian cafe. I was actually in McDonalds in Arnold but my intentions were good. I was catching up on my haiku challenge, which I mentioned a couple of days ago.

On Sunday I didn’t write any, so today I have twenty to do. At the time of writing I have done nine. This isn’t too bad as it means I’m pretty much in the same position as I was yesterday – just a day behind. I’m seven days in and have two hours to write thirty three lines of non-rhyming poetry. They don’t even need to be good. That shouldn’t be a problem – disappointing haiku are one of my specialities.

I will cover this question of quality in a post later in the week.

We had thirteen parcels to pack this morning, plus a few minor jobs, which neatly filled the three hours.  I posted the massive lot of royalty medals just before lunch and notice we have sold one already.

On my return home I spent an hour or so reading WP, including catching up with escapetothebarn.

Next I had to drop Number Two Son off at the station as he’s flying back to Malta from Stanstead tomorrow. Julia had some extra hours today so it was just a short trip to The Meadows where I waited 20 minutes for her to finish and took some pictures through the rainy windscreen. The “Meadows” is not a very accurate description.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough rain in the picture so I took one of my mirror too.

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Rain in a rear view mirror

We had chicken thighs and mediterranean vegetables for tea, mainly because we had a lot of courgettes to eat. We also had rosemary from the garden and ready chopped garlic from a jar.

I’ve decided that life is too short to chop garlic.

 

Back in the Game

You may recall me mentioning that I’d had a haiku accepted for publication two weeks ago.

You should do, I mentioned it enough.

I then sent a few off to another magazine. I thought several of them were better than the one that had been accepted, so I was quietly confident about getting another one accepted.

Unfortunately, I didn’t.

That happens, and alongside the quiet confidence I always try to keep a sense of reality. After all, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Anyway, not only did I get rejected, I was advised by the editor not to be downhearted because competion made it tough to get into the magazine.

I could live with that.

It was the next bit that twisted the knife. He advised me to read the magazine and write something suitable. Well, thanks to the internet I had been reading the magazine and I had thought that I’d submitted something suitable.

Apparantly not. Apparantly I had completely missed the point.

So I entered a deep depression and started an internal monologue telling me I was rubbish and should give up. This was possibly an over-reaction but we can’t all be well-balanced.

It was made worse by the realisation that I had set the bar high. Possibly too high. Stretching yourself is one thing, but arrogantly setting out to target the top magazines is embarrassing when it doesn’t work.

Rather than prolong the agony, I will just tell you that everything is fine now. I have read some articles about how to write better haiku, including some written by people who don’t know. Some of them even admit they don’t know. Some of them don’t admit it, but their haiku examples show it.

That’s the trouble with the internet – lots of words and lots of people who really should be disconnected.

I’ve actually written a couple of haiku that are probably better than the ones I had rejected, so it’s been a positive experience.

I’ve also had an email telling me I have just had two haibun accepted. Not just one, but two. And I had a pleasant note from the editor, which restored my faith in editors.

Looks like I may be on the right track after all.

 

 

 

Lack of Sleep and an Accidental Poem

After rising at 4.40 am yesterday I expected to sleep well last night. I didn’t.

First waking at 3am I was up again at 4.30, 5.30 and 7.30. Good bit of planning there – I missed 6.30 and slept through the alarm.

You’d have thought that after 60 years I’d have got the hang of sleeping, but it appears not.

As part of my cruise through poetry I now know that if I add a haiku to this post (and grandiloquently call the post an essay) it becomes a Japanese-style poem called a haibun.

Following on from yesterday’s condensed sonnet I’m going to condense another well known poem into haiku form. I originally tried to condense Daffodils, but it kept trying to turn itself into a Limerick. This one worked better. If I acknowledge a debt to John Keats it will reveal the base poem, even if the first line doesn’t.

mist and fruitfulness

poppies and the cider press

swallows gathering

It even falls into 5-7-5 format, even though I wasn’t aiming for it.

 

Things Fall into Place

Sorry, in the earlier version of this post I may have been a bit sloppy and given the impression that the haiku I wrote was the one in this post. In fact I did write the haiku in the post, but merely by taking words from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19 to illustrate how he used a lot of words that he could have used for something else.

My haiku, which won’t be published until October, is not as good. Though it does have ducks in it.

I just had a poem accepted for publication, my first in fourteen years.

This isn’t as bad as it may seem at first glance, as I actually didn’t submit anything for fourteen years. After a few years of limbering up and writing limericks I decided to give it a try again.

The first two submissions came back so fast it felt like they were on elastic. In the days when we had to use post it was all much more stately. So I tried again and seem to have sneaked in under the quality bar.

It’s only a haiku as I’m famously lazy and can’t see any point in writing more than I have to. Three lines, ten words, fourteen syllables, no rhymes.

In terms of effort it beats a sonnet hands down.

This is Sonnet 18 cut down to a haiku. It’s ninety-nine words shorter and though it’s not going to achieve immortality, it’s an example of what Shakespeare could have done if he’d have set his mind to it.

(Looking at it, I wish I’d thought of doing this sooner as it’s a lot easier than writing one from scratch).

a summer’s day

rough winds shake buds of May

eternal lines

If Shakespeare had written haiku instead of messing about with sonnets he’d have had more time to write things like a spin-off from Henry V where Sir John Falstaff opens up a small hotel on the south coast, with hilarious consequences. Falstaff Towers could have been so good…

 

Haiku, clerihu and an idle moment

I’ve successfully procrastinated the morning away since dropping Julia at work. I blogged, I slept, I composed twelve haiku on modern subjects, I reflected on Clerihews and their superiority to haiku and I replied to a few comments. I even read one post from someone else. It was fascinating, though it didn’t seem promising at first. Try Repro Arts of Great Yarmouth. It’s a print shop, but one that has made at least one fascinating blog post. I say “at least” because I have not yet read any of the others. They may all be fascinating, but in line with my theme for the morning, I’m going to read the rest later.

I recently invented a new poetic form – the haiklerihew. So far the world’s stock of haiklerihews is one. It’s probably all we need. I’m thinking I might have a crack at the clerihu next, though amalgamating a four line humorous poem nobody values with a three line nature poem that people are very serious about could take some doing.

 

from ancient Japan we have Basho

who never has gone out of fashion

deep in the woodlands

a nature cliche gestates

serious poem

 

I’ve amalgamated the first two lines of the clerihew, with the name, then added a haiku underneath. Clerihews, for those of you who have missed previous efforts, are allowed to be bad in terms of rhyme and scansion. I think I have achieved that here.

The haiku is a bit unkind, but some of them are a bit cliched in terms of the nature reference – I know mine are. I’ve used the 5-7-5 syllable format which is now seen as a bit old-fashioned – that way you can tell it’s a haiku. I had to change woods to woodlands to get the five in the first line, which is in the bad poetry tradition of the Clerihew.

All in all, a satisfactory poetic form, and much better than the haiklerihew.

I’m now going to brace myself for death threats from haiku poets.

Writers of Clerihews are much more laid back.

I Invent a New Poetic Form

Well, it’s been a thought-provoking day.

It started when I wrenched myself from bed and took Julia to work. The mornings are already significantly darker than they were a month ago. By 6.15 I was taking photographs by the roadside and at 6.30 arrived at the services ready to collect Number Two Son. He was supposed to be off shift at 7.00 but nobody turned up. Eventually he was relieved at 8.15 after ringing round.

 

I tried to pass my time profitably, by writing haiku and watching people. The people-watching didn’t go well as there was nobody interesting to watch, apart from a hairy middle-aged man wearing only shorts and flip-flops. Even that wasn’t really interesting, just an anthropological footnote.

The haiku? They soon degenerated into my favoured format – the clerihew. I didn’t produce  any of note this morning but this one has been hanging round in the drafts for a while. It features a Japanese word so it’s a hybrid form I just invented, the haiklerihew.

Martin van Buren,

was au fait with shitsuren,

and, stressing ideology over personality,

opened an era of boring banality

It’s a niche market and I can’t help feeling I may have written more haiklerihews than the world needs.

Now I just need to use canicular.

 

Then I did laundry, shopped, snoozed and picked Julia up from work. We had salad for tea. We were going to have roast vegetables and belly pork but I fell asleep in front of the TV and it was a bit late to start cooking.

I can’t help feeling I’m not using Sunday to its full potential.

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Strange clouds over the Trent Valley