e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Another haiku challenge from Carpe Diem

Kite bird flying

This time the challenge is to write a haiku about kites. Apparently kiting is a worldwide phenomenon and popular with all kinds of people of all ages.

But not all kites are man made.

As usual the Carpe Diem site has links to a number of superb haiku. Mine needs illustrating.

kite boxKite meets kite; ignore
each other. Bird and box have
their own agendas.

 

 

Bird from Wikimedia commons Brahminy kite at Nalbana Bird Sanctuary, Odisha India

Kite from Wikimedia commons file sechseckdrachen01 taken by Frank Swichtenberg

 

A new haiku challenge – ‘The rays of the setting sun’.

Once again the Carpe Diem site has come up with an interesting prompt. Its inspiration is a classic haiku by Kikaku, a contemporary of Basho.

This is a translation of the poem:

in the rays of the setting sun
there flutters along the city street
a butterfly

I think it is a lovely image. Mine however leaves the butterflies and concentrates on the sky:

Red-rimmed clouds gather
in the west. Behind them,
today’s sun sets.

As I roamed around the house and garden mulling the haiku and trying different versions in my head, I felt it should be expanded into a tanka.

Red-rimmed clouds gather
in the west. Behind, today’s
sun sets. My neighbour
passes me in the street.
‘Nice day tomorrow,’ he says.

A first poetry book is published “The Lotus of Fire”

An interesting story of self-publishing and the value of keeping trying.

Congratulations to Sharmishtha Basu on this milestone.

Poetry about poppies

Red poppiesI took this photo of oriental poppies in the summer and thought it would be nice to have a poem or two to go with it.

Googling brought up a large number of websites, but most of them were about war poems. I wanted peaceful, wholesome, summery images.

Persistence wins: I have found a couple.

Wild Poppies by Marion McCready overflows with images. Her poppies are made with ‘henna silks’ and ‘move like an opera’. They wear ‘lipstick dresses’ and are ‘urgent as airmail’. I love the energy of them and the mystery of their lives.

James Stephens, not content with a few poppies, wrote In the Poppy Field.

He writes about a conversation between the poet and Mad Patsy which includes:

An angel walking on the sky;
Across the sunny skies of morn
He threw great handfuls far and nigh
Of poppy seed among the corn;

Telling Time

E A M Harris:

Perhaps we could learn something about ageing from the trees: they do it gracefully and don’t make a fuss.

I’m grateful to Leaf and Twig for posting this lovely photo and poem.

Originally posted on leaf and twig:

DSC01461
wrinkles not rings
tell the secrets
of this tree’s age

View original

A to Z Reading Challenge: My Answers

E A M Harris:

I love these questions and the answers; I may even do this quiz myself one day. In the meantime I pass it on for those of you who like to mull over your thoughts on books.

Originally posted on A Small Press Life:

I ran across this on Not a Punk Rocker. I enjoyed reading her answers, so I thought I would participate, too. It’s not as if I am working against a deadline today. Nope, I am not shirking my professional duties to write this post. Okay, so maybe I am taking a slight break. Yes, that is it. A break.

If you’re a long-time reader of A Small Press Life (and if you are, thank you!), you’ve probably wondered what happened to our own reader questionnaire series, [R]evolving Incarnations. Never fear. It returns this Friday.

Until then, there’s this.

Oh, and I’ve decided to do it backwards. Z to A, which is how my books are organized.

ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE): I am a late-night reader, so this is a pretty normal occurrence. It helps that I work from home and set my own…

View original 885 more words

A book worth buying and a charity worth supporting

E A M Harris:

A good read and a fundraiser for a vital service.

Originally posted on BRIDGET WHELAN writer:

Martlets Hospice anthologyI’m not making any excuses. This post is a brazen plug for a book that has just been published on Amazon. it is the work of 17 authors and is a very good read.  You will meet memorable characters on every page from the silent workhouse survivor to the wife who is right to be suspicious of her husband’s sat nav – but that’s not why I am asking you to buy it.
I edited the book and I think you will enjoy the Where Did that Come From? section at the end of every chapter where you will discover the source of each story. But that’s not the reason why I think you should  have Dancing with Words on your bookshelf.
No, I hope you will consider spending £7.99 on this hefty paperback (at 280 pages you are definitely getting your money’s worth) because it is a tribute…

View original 229 more words

Poems for a perfumed world

Carpe Diem has an interesting article on using all our senses to describe the world and not just sight and sound. How often are we treesconscious of the smell of a scene? Do we reach out and touch something to find out its texture? I love to touch the petals of flowers and their leaves – the variety of texture in the natural world is amazing.

Out of this comes a challenge to write about smell, and I’ve tried to do it justice.

The van, driven past
the wood’s edge, stirs up scents
of damp earth and rich green.

Reading the poems already posted suggests that most people concentrate on the perfume side of this sense, as I’ve done. One day, maybe, I’ll write about the stink of sewage – would that be in the spirit of haiku?

More deeply into haiku

Stepping Stones coverI’ve started to read Stepping Stones: a way into haiku by Martin Lucas, a former president of the British Haiku Society. I was very sad to learn that he has recently died. He leaves behind much influence and inspiration for those who enjoy haiku.

This book is not a technical ‘how to’, apart from the introduction which concentrates mostly on the important differences that the Japanese and English languages force on haiku. It is an anthology of modern English language haiku with a commentary on each one.

The commentaries encourage a deeper and more thorough reading of the poems by questioning and speculating about the context and significance of each of them.

For instance, on the haiku about the actions of a monk while swimming in a river by Steve Dolphy, some of the questions to consider are: was he alone or with other monks? was he wearing his saffron robes or had he stripped? was his ducking under the approaching oar hasty and fearful or calm and dignified? Of course, we don’t know. Each reader must ‘see’ the scene for themselves and arrive at an understanding accordingly. In another, by Andrew Detheridge, about clinging to a donkey’s tail we are encouraged to ask the circumstances: a children’s game? a moment of disorientation? a real donkey or a paper one?

Considering questions like this has made me take note of how selective a haiku writer is. The points important to the poem are abstracted from a much more complex scene.

A lot is left up to the reader. This is one reason haiku don’t contain judgements – the reader’s response should not be coloured by someone else’s opinion.

I am learning a great deal from this way of looking at an individual poem – more as a reader than a writer. But if we can’t read properly, how can we write?

A Greek New Testament Reunited – Medieval manuscripts blog

I love reading about ancient manuscripts. They have such fascinating histories – written by hand in obscure places, passed from owner to owner, altered, rebound, stolen, damaged – you name it, they’ve done it.

Often parts of their history remain mysterious.

This post about two manuscripts newly digitised is a case in point.

A Greek New Testament Reunited – Medieval manuscripts blog.

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 417 other followers

%d bloggers like this: