Tag Archives: senryu

Endings and Beginnings and Keeping Going

Two days ago I published a  link to my latest published haibun. That night I had an email to discuss some changes to a submission I’d made just before Christmas. I’ve made them so I’m hoping for an acceptance there. Then last night I had a n acceptance for four poems. They are senryu rather than haiku (based on human nature rather than nature) but the line is blurred in English language Japanese-style poetry. It was a bit unexpected as I’ve never been much good with the short poems and, to be honest, never expect much. To have four accepted at one time is close to being unbelievable, and puts my total of short poems published (well, theoretically published – they won’t actually be published until next month) up from two to six, which is a big jump.

It’s quite a good way to end the year – all I need to do now is find a good way to start the New Year.

It goes to show what happens when you set your mind to something. I had a rest at the beginning of the year. I had had a series of rejections, one of my favourite magazines closed and there was a change of editor at another one – a man who has never accepted anything from me, and continues to accept nothing from me. I admit I did give up for a time, but you can’t keep a good man down and at the end of  July, after a lapse of nearly a year, I started submitting again.

Twenty submissions. Nine acceptances. This includes an acceptance from a magazine that turned me down three times previously.

The moral of the story is never give up. And if you do give up, remember that you can always start again. It’s not meant to be easy.

This is a lesson that can be applied to many things, and one which I really ought to remember, because I’m very bad at letting things lapse.

Latest News – just had confirmation the changes are acceptable and I therefore have another acceptance. This is a good end to the year.

 

 

Political Limericks and Other Poems

Warning, this post may include tedium. This is particularly true for overseas readers who may not recognise any of the names.

I was intending to write some political limericks last week, but haven’t been firing on all cylinders after being ill. A limerick, with five lines, two rhymes (AABBA) and anapestic meter is trickier than it looks. Even when my brain is replete with fish and purring like a sardine-stuffed cat, questions of metre have a tendency to take the shine off my day.

The answer I adopted, in line with my normal policy of lowering standards to match results, is to cut out all the difficult bits. That would suggest a clerihew, a form often used to make fun of famous figures. The rhymes are easy (AABB) and it has a sensibly easy-going view of line length and metre.

Theresa May

Gave a poll lead away

She lost her majority

and offended her sorority

or

Jeremy Corbyn

Rhymes with next to nothin’

A beardy, weirdy smarty

Who leads the Labour party

To be fair, I’m not sure how smart he is. As long as it isn’t libellous (and I’m pretty sure that accusing politicians of intelligence is not defamatory) I think I’m in the clear as accuracy doesn’t seem too important in clerihews.

Nicola Salmon

Has a tendency to bang on

About places north of the border

That sound a bit like Mordor

Other parties are available, but I can’t remember the names of any of the leaders.

I then had a look at senryu. They are like haiku but without the rules –  no cutting words, no season words and no nature. Seventeen syllables or less. You can include humour and human foibles. They are almost the limerick of Japanese poetry and, apart from throwing a selection of words on the table to see what happens, there can’t be many easier ways to write a poem.

Ripples of applause

A political speech

The sound of lyres

Sorry, it’s a cheap shot but I couldn’t resist.

As for my comment on throwing a selection of words on the table, there is a poet who does that at workshops. I forget her name but she was on Radio Four a couple of weeks ago when it was National Poetry Day. She travels the world with a big bag of words running poetry workshops in a career that makes professional cuddler look almost mainstream.