e a m harris

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Archive for the category “Poetry”

Late summer flowers

Version 2

Flowers the colour
of flame, echo the sun. Soon
the season will change.

Rhapsodomancy: a form of divination

Rhapsodomancy is another word new to me, and one that actually has some application. It means using the text of a poem to foretell the future.41VKAAY5nvL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_

According to Wikipedia there are several ways of determining which poem to use. Some of the systems involve writing a poem or some poems’ titles on bits of paper (or tree-bark if you want to be really authentic), putting the papers in a pot and drawing one out (without looking of course). Alternatively you can spread the papers over your desk and toss a die at them. The one the die lands on is the one you use.

Fortunetelling isn’t really my thing, but I was intrigued by my reading about rhapsodomancy so I thought I’d give it a go. Writing a lot of titles or lines out seemed like work and a waste of paper, but using the die is a good idea, so I decided to adapt that. It took a few goes to make it work, so what follows isn’t entirely my first effort.

Some time ago I was given a copy of a lovely book, Poem for the Day: One edited by Nicholas Albery, which has one poem for each day of the year. It seemed a good book to use as my text – very varied poems by many poets.

To find the poem I need I have to have a randomly chosen date. Since we are in the first half of the month I decided the date used should to be in the first two weeks. So I toss a die. It lands on 6.

I don’t need another toss – I’m not going to do any adding. If I used another toss I might get a 1 or 2 and could use them with the 6 to give me 16 or 26, but I’ve already decided to rule these dates out.

So now to toss for the month. I get a 2 – February. I toss again in case I get December, but I don’t – I get a 3. Since there are no months 23 or 32, I stick with February.

Now for the text for 6th February. It is The Passionate Shepherd to his Love by Christopher Marlowe. But it has six stanzas which seem too much for divination, so I toss again and get a 6.

The verse:

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning.
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

All this die work is just the preamble. We’re now at the tricky part, which is working out what it means.

An experienced diviner could probably draw a lot of conclusions from such a verse. My immediate reaction is that next May there will be dancing and singing near enough to me for me to observe it and maybe join in. This is such a cheerful prediction that I’m going to stop there and wait until May 2016 to see if it comes true.

If any of my readers see something different in the verse, I’d love to hear what it is.

Haiku, monks and pharaohs

As usual Chèvrefeuille has set an interesting poetic challenge on Carpe Diem. It’s well worth reading the article about Lake Tana and its rich spiritual history.

Some of the poems inspired by this challenge are truly lovely.

I’ve followed in my fellow poets’ footprints with a tanka:

The Blue Nile flowing
from Tana, once heard the songs
of monks and pharaohs.
Now the cloisters are ruins;
the songs but faded legends.


A first book from Belinda Broughton

E A M Harris:

An upcoming book that promises to be both exciting and heartwarming.

Originally posted on Belinda Broughton:

Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a Refugee Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a Refugee

It will launch at 3.00 p.m., Saturday 5th September 2015, at The Light Gallery, Centre for Creative Photography, 138 Richmond Rd, Marleston SA 5033, Australia.

Feel free to pop over, all ye other-side-of-the-worlders!

Will post buying details soon. It will be available from Ginninderra Press, (you have to scroll down to my name) but it doesn’t stay in one’s cart yet; perhaps the link broke. Try again tomorrow.

Here is the blurb from the back cover. What a succinct piece of writing!


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Whispers I Silently Heard

E A M Harris:

A new poetry book. Congratulations to Kimberly, a book represents a lot of hard work.

Originally posted on silentlyheardonce:

On August 14, 2015 my new book of poetry “Whispers I Silently Heard”  will be available everywhere!!!!!


Whispers I Silently Heard is a large collection of my poetry dating back to the nineteen seventies.  I am very proud of the work I put into creating this collection.

You can purchase an autograph copy by simply emailing me at mizsilentlyheard@gmail.com to request a copy and I will send you and invoice.

Whispers I Silently Heard will be available on Kindle, Nook and other eBooks

The paperback will be available at Create a space and you will be able to go to your local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy.

You can pre-order your Kindle copy here

As always I thank you for your support.

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Visiting bees

A summery challenge from Carpe Diem this time, inspired by blogger Laura Williams.

My garden is full of bees at present, so I give them a little mention.

Afternoon: baked still
by sun. Even the quaking grass
is motionless. But
the lavender bush shivers,
jostled by tiger-striped bees.


Summer passing in haiku

woodlandCarpe Diem again has an interesting and thoughtful prompt. This time the originator is Jane Reichhold who has published on haiku and modern kigo. The prompt is summer passing – a look at the fleeting nature of time, the seasons, life.

My contribution:

Today the woods are green;
soon they will be gold.
How quickly summer passes.

Mountains haiku

Once again an inspiring post on Carpe Diem. Basho is the model this time.

Today ideas came to me quickly, though, as usual, they needed time to work into the haiku form.

The mountain path
travels down as well as up.
You must follow both.

The way through the woods

 The path through the woods


This path, through woods green
with new growth, was trodden
by my ancestors.

Cinquain poems

I’ve recently been introduced to a kind of poetry I haven’t met before – cinquain poetry. This literally means five-line poems, but under the influence of forms like haiku some of the five-liners have gathered sets of rules and formalities, and the term ‘cinquain poem’ now has a more limited meaning.

There are several different patterns and hence different types of poems – American, didactic, lantern etc. Some of them count syllables and some count words.

A common pattern is:

One word
Two words
Three words
Four words
One word

There is also two, four, six, eight, two syllables.

For some the rules are more prescriptive:

A noun
Two adjectives describing the noun
Three –ing words describing its actions
A phrase about it
One word that sums up or is a synonym for the first

I haven’t had much experience with this kind of poem, but here is one of mine as a sample:

Ancient, green
Growing, spreading, rustling
In the wild wood

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