e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the category “Poetry”

New Year: New Reading

A belated Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope you have had a good festive season and are enjoying the feeling of newness that a new year can bring.

PBS Bulletin

After a lot of hectic: travel, parties, shopping, eating etc, etc, I have finally got around to seriously reading the winter offering from the Poetry Book SocietyJoy by Sasha Dugdale.

Along with the selected book comes the quarterly PBS Bulletin. Now the Society has updated it and it looks completely different. After years of receiving the old one I’m a bit nostalgic for its look and feel, but the new version is very nice and no doubt I’ll get used to it.

So I start 2018 with some newness spilling over from last year.

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Life: the only game there is

The Three Fates

On the Carpe Diem site we have been set an interesting challenge – to write a haiku or tanka on the theme of ‘life is a game’.

This isn’t exactly a new theme for poetry, many poets in different countries, writing in different languages, have done the same, but it seems to me a bit unusual for haiku. However, us haiku writers can rise to any challenge, and I suspect that, in the ‘old days’ when Basho and his friends were holding (drunken) haiku parties, many way-out subjects were used.

Chèvrefeuille himself has given us a beautiful haiku as a model, tying the game to the seasons:

life is but a game
nature rolls the dices
seasons change

I haven’t managed to use the seasons, but I found the theme fits the haiku form well:

life is an endgame
only the Fates are certain
when the game will end.

 

Picture of The Three Fates from wikimedia.

Autumn birds

Carpe Diem has given us an interesting prompt of music entitled The Last of His Name by BrunuhVille.

Using music made me think of birds; the time of year is about migrating birds.

Lone swallow

The last of his name
“Swallow” will follow the flock
but not just yet.

Photo from Photopin.

Modern sculpture and haiku

Carpe Diem has had a series of posts linking haiku with sculpture. This may be something of a departure for writers, like myself, who have looked to the natural world for inspiration, but it has given rise to many really interesting poems.

I found it quite a challenge but it opened up new ideas and ways of seeing.

cool lawn; bronze sculpture;
graceful struts entwine upwards;
metallic tango.

(Pic from Carpe Diem post)

Cardoons – built for power and poetry

Cardoons

I can’t remember where I took this photo, but I love the mass of large, spiky, in-yer-face leaves.

I checked around to see if I could find any poems about cardoons. The internet is not exactly thick with them but I did find one, about a baboon but including cardoon.

Artichokes have more poets interested in them, and since they don’t seem to be much different to cardoons, I thought it fair to include a link.

Flowers in a bed tend to give me the impression that they are posing, not for a photo, but for a haiku. I couldn’t find any ready written so here is my haiku on these magnificent plants.

Summer afternoon.
Round cardoon heads stand above
rosettes of huge leaves.

The dream of the homeland

rural England

Recently I’ve been re-reading Poem for the Day One edited by Nicholas Albery. Today’s poem is a section of Rupert Brooke‘s ‘The Old Vicarage: Grantchester‘ written in 1912 while he was on a long journey in Germany. . It starts:-

Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester.

In this expression of homesickness he describes the beauties of rural England in detail. It sounds idyllic.

Reading it I began to wonder how much of the idealisation of homeland/motherland/fatherland is created not by those in it but by those away. I suspect that most countries have a body of nostalgic literature, often poetry, written by the exiled, the war bound or the long-time traveller.

Such idylls are very pervasive. Do they still affect the way people vote or even fight?

The benefit of rain

bricks and path

The path after days
of rain – a geometry
of mossy neatness.

What’s in a name

I google ‘sea-slug’;
my screen fills with images;
all are beautiful.

sea slug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from Photo Pin.
Credits:
Sylke Rohrlach <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87895263@N06/8599051974″>Blue dragon-glaucus atlanticus</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
Christian Gloor (mostly) underwater photographer <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/76738608@N08/28390675456″>Inner light.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Burn for Spring

smoke rising to the clouds

Above the burning
hills: false clouds of smoke. The land
made ready for growth.

 

 

A recent prompt from Carpe Diem is a rare kigo, ‘burning the hills’.

On the surface this doesn’t seem very kigoish, but in Japan farmers burn the old grass off the hillsides in preparation for planting – thus it is a kigo of Spring.

Garden thoughts of Alexander Pope

A garden Pope would have likedAt school I was made to read The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, but since then have read none of his poetry and have barely remembered his existence.

Recently, however, I stumbled on an article on Pope the gardener in the blog Eighteenth Century Media. Apparently Pope was famous, not only as a poet, but also as a gardener, and friends and fans frequently asked his advice on major and minor aspects of gardening. He may have designed gardens; he certainly had things to say about them.

He favoured the classical style (modern in his day) in which there was a balance between nature and artifice, display and restraint, variety and simplicity. This balance was not just aesthetically pleasing but morally as well. Restraint and ‘consulting the genius of the place’ showed good taste and self control.

Among his writings are a number of Epistles written in verse. One of these, The Epistle to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, although about the use and abuse of riches, also contains a lot of advice on gardening. As a detailed  how-to of horticulture it might not be very useful but it’s aesthetics might be useful for any kind of design.

Oft have you hinted to your brother peer
A certain truth, which many buy too dear:
Something there is, more needful than expense,
And something previous even to taste – ’tis sense:

For those of us who don’t have a fortune to spend on our gardens, it’s comforting to think that all we need is sense, which is free.

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