Posts Tagged: poetry


I started with a couple of ‘non-standard haiku’ (but then found I couldn’t alter them)

Walking down to the letter-box:

The air is chill

My breath puffs

The pukeko bursts from the swamp

And an old one from the past:

My hair’s gold

Much use that is to me

Shivering in the cold

Later thoughts:

We had dinner at the Anchor Inn, then, while the men looked at the boats, I walked back to the car. As I sat there, overlooking the water, on my leg I pressed out the rhythm of the 5-7-5 syllables. Here’s the resultant haiku – they all turned up with the proper syllable count, and I wrote them down, as is, on the back of our friend’s flight itinerary.

Feet rustle the leaves

Lichened branches are exposed

A dogs bark echoes.

Twisting in the sea

The masts make green wavy lines

My bare arms are warm.

Orange masts reflect

Setting sun onto water

I sit here and wait.

Sun catches the hills

Painting the scene autumn gold  

Seabirds spiral down.

Waves of ripples

Reflect on the embankment

It is cold waiting.

Green railed walk-ways

Slant over evening water

The cold men hurry.

Then on the way home, chat disturbed my train of thought, so I got a bit uncertain:

A big moon rises

Pale-faced over eastern hills

The car exhaust frosts.

OR -

A huge moon rises

Frosty on the eastern rim

I stand amazed.


Concluding comments on the Haiku:

I’ve got the rhythm,

5-7-5 that makes 17.

Ha! The music flies!

“After losing the battle with the pantoum,

After taking the easy route with the sestina,

After a few non-standard haiku,

I suddenly thought – why not try again?

So I did, and WOW: I found the beat.

Haiku flowed in profusion

All in 5-7-5!”

(It’s like music -

Once you’ve got the tune

Then you can just keep humming along)

Note: Probably Shakespeare thought in rhythm (sonnets etc), just like physicists think and write in mathematics. It would need a lot of talent and practice though. (Sigh…)


Haiku: 3 lines/17 syllables/ 5-7-5 per line.


So I shall write the haiku as I like (i.e. as it comes – in the spirit of nature: mood, season and place); then – because I do try - I shall manipulate it to fit the rules and see if that improves it.

After a lot of practice no doubt one would think in the 17/5-7-5 syllable rhythm – but again I have the problem –is it worth doing? Remember how the French poets rebelled against the Alexandrine form, and went off to the other extreme of the prose poem. I’m finding all these forms – pantoum, sestina etc not to be precious vessels, but straitjackets. Perhaps I will see their utility in time, but now I am most discouraged and unhappy and wanting less and less to write poetry. (I have always hated jigsaws and puzzles, and these poetic forms are driving me nuts!)


O Shadow Fox

Do you want to talk to me?

I am humbled

                     (By you)

I wait in pain

                          (Inflicted by you)

The angina waves down my arm

                                                 (I hear you!)


I know the power

Of the Shadow Fox I have burnt.

I burnt you again yesterday,

(That demented maths test.)


I grumbled and argued with you

all through it.

‘Don’t do it’ you cried, writhing in the flames

‘Just this once’ I cajoled,

                       ‘You know there are things I must do.’

‘Just this once’ I promised

(and how many times have I promised  that



You grumble off into the dark

With just a warning jab of angina

To let me know you are displeased.


I listen!

I do!

I am trying!

I am pulled between you and

  the necessities of this world.


Yesterday I followed the video link to  Ted Hughes talking about his poem ‘The Thought Fox’. He described a dream (a ‘big’ dream- refer C.G.Jung) - in this case a strong warning dream from the subconscious. He had been getting more reluctant to write his weekly essays, until finally – No! - he couldn’t do the one in front of him. That night a dream: down the stairs walked his burnt suffering man-fox. (Typical sub-conscious animal imagery – s/c = bison on cave walls, worship of bulls in ancient Eastern Mediterranean, Minotaur, animal-headed gods of the Egyptians. What will be our symbols when we are just a city folk? Birds? Cockroaches? Ah well - wolves and snakes are ever reliable.) Burnt by the fires of his conscious (c = light, candle flame etc) i.e.suffering from the demands of the conscious and its requirements (the essay in this case). It placed its burnt hand upon the page and lifted it to reveal a bloody imprint. You couldn’t ask for a clearer statement could you? (Even before it said: ‘You have to stop this, you’re destroying us.’)


‘The Craft Of Writing Poetry’ Alison Chisholm. Allison & Busby Ltd, London (1992).

This is a basic text on writing poetry. It explains all the terms (assonance, half-rhyme, trochee, iambic pentameter etc), and also the basic ‘how- to- do- it’ of poetry writing.


It’s no use reading when you’re drunk.

You’d think the words would


Resonant into your receptive mind.

But NO – that last sip of wine was too much,

Not only do you stagger

You can’t concentrate.

But by God, you can release the creative mind. 


The flowers are finished on the lilies.

Their stalks are browning off,

And their seed capsules are swelling.

But elsewhere in the garden

The autumn flowers are underway.

The coreopsis is bright yellow

And the asters are purple.


The duck has a brown eye; orange feet, and is speckled all over.

I play a game –

The bread I was about to eat,

I roughly scrape across my tongue instead.

The duck accepts it.

She swims away through the green water.

My DNA is being broken down in her gut:

It will be absorbed and rebuilt into her DNA.

I watch the duck.

I am the duck.





I’m sizzling with it!

The time I want to read,

The time I want to think,

Is being wasted! Lost in the computer!

I spent the whole morning yesterday

Putting a blog into that amazing hole.

What should have taken me 20 minutes took 3 hours.

The first poetry homework was on poetic terms:

It took longer to type the assignment

than it took to do it.

Something’s got to give!

and it won’t be me!

(sizzle, sizzle)


A later comment: Today is the 26/2/12, and my fury has abated (to a simmer). I am discovering a few useful aspects of the computer – the dictionary and thesaurus are quick and helpful tools.