Poetry – My first attempts at Haiku

Yesterday I was interested in the question “Why do you write?“. It was off the back off a post from a few days ago on how myself and Poetry are not the best of friends. So I decided to try work on that relationship with an attempt at some Haiku.

First up I should note that I had no idea what Haiku was until seeing the mention in the current Writers Digest. My wife’s comments on the matter were to roll her eyes, and say “How have you never heard of that, I did that in 5th grade maybe?”. I could only give her a withered look and reply with “I’m not American, with your daft schooling and stuff”. It may be that I did it myself at school and forgotten about it. It seems like so many years ago and probably was.

So Haiku, my new friend, what can you tell me about yourself. Traditional Haiku is three lines, the first with five syllables, the second seven syllables and the third five again. Contemporary Haiku is still three lines but doesn’t necessarily follow the syllable rule. There are three short lines, and to quote writers digest “a cutting word that connects two juxtaposed images, and an element emblematic of a season”.

Ok so here goes then, this is off the top of my head.

Erm….

… Actually choosing a subject is the hardest part….

… So what can I see from here?  …Oh here goes:

The lazy Cat sprawled out

The old sofa rests in peace

in spring morning sun

So what do you think? Ok for a first attempt but a bit 5th grade? Well it does follow the classic syllable rule. At this point my wife asked what it was about. “Is it about how beautiful I am?”. Well not that one, let me try another:

Beauty gleaming forth

Cross summer of my heart

Oh that wife of mine

Well these are first drafts off the top of my head. What do you expect for a first go? So there is one more:

Cold day comfort yearn

Breakfast toast furnish a famine

in my fibrous gut

So there goes a few attempts. First thoughts are that actually, it is fun to try and find something to fit the form. It is a good exercise in editing. Hard to choose a subject. A little humorous. Probably would get better with practice. Well I said myself and Poetry were not friends, it is not like I read a lot of it. I think my first date with Haiku went well enough for a second attempt. Maybe we shall have another date soon.

Lexicon word of the day: pertinacious.

More on what progress might be

Reginald sat and wondered about nothing specific. There was little on his mind and he wasn’t at all tired today. Cletus, his young son, had decided that a second night of staying awake wasn’t good for anybody and slept through the night. Reginald had reluctantly agreed with him and mostly did the same. Well almost, as habit would have it, Reginald frequently woke at night, however when Cletus wasn’t helping, would turn over and go back to sleep again. Reginald heard Cletus stirring on the baby monitor, but nothing else. The night was as quiet as a house might allow it, with the occasional eerie creaking of the structure, and the odd car or dog in the neighbourhood. Dixie the cat had free reign last night, nothing would disturb her during her pre-nap naps, her naps, treks to look out of the window, occasional feeds, and chucking up on the carpet. The latter she at least did under the coffee table and somewhat out of the way. Reginald had little to add to this, on a mild and clear headed morning.

– And in other news I’m enjoying the writer exercise. I wondered if it would be a bit of a slog rather than a joy but so far it is the latter. Yes I know a minimum of 15 minutes a day is not a lot of time, and indeed it isn’t. The actual typing is a joy, it’s fun and is starting to make my mind tick over again in a creative way in a manner it hasn’t done in a while. Prior to this, there have been the occasional bursts of creativity and creating notes, followed by the notes sitting there for a while whilst I thought about going back to them and editing / putting them into some kind of order. Now I’m getting more into the groove and for want of a better way of putting it, joining the dots, whilst creating some more.

Interesting to note is that if following the exercise to the law of the letter, then what gets put down is what gets put down. It is not an exercise in revision and correction per se. Take the post from yesterday which took the form of a short story. Now if I was going to publish this elsewhere, I may revise and change a few details. I would think a little more about the words, whether better ones could be chosen to provide more colour, or to provide better rhythm and sound. I would edit and add. But the exercise is about getting something down. On the other hand I could do the things above but as a separate days exercise. Write a new version, so there would be the before and after. Maybe I will do that, or maybe I will lark about with a few more short stories on here. Possibly a story broken up into mini-chapters over a week or a fortnight. There are lots of possibilities for things to do here as a means to improve various writing skills. A certain amount of improvement is just through experience i.e. time spent doing it, although there is also use in casting a critical eye, improving the language and flow. So (and this is mainly for my benefit), additional things that could be done in this exercise:

  • Revise a previously written story to enhance the detail.
  • Revise a previously written story to improve the words and the sound of.
  • Write a small story in several parts over a number of days.

N.b. the story in several parts could be planned in a posting e.g. laying out a basic structure, then writing each part on a separate day, or I could improvise the whole thing. I like the idea of just choosing some subjects and seeing what I can come up with right there and then.

  • An exercise in laying down some headers / ideas for stories / chapters, which can then be picked over for the parts of the story. In choosing some headers the idea will be to write something that can lead to the next one in some form or other.
  • A discussion piece on why some of the above were chosen.

Well I like a challenge.

Lexicon word for today: Heterodox

Reginald’s early morning (Part 1).

Reginald was slumped on his chair, leaning over his laptop, much like a man who had spent too much time awake the previous night, and had some writing to get on with. In fact, Reginald was a man who had spent much time awake last night and had some writing to get on with. As often in the morning, Reginald was needing some inspiration and not much was forthcoming. He would sit down and try to delve into the vaults of his mind, for he believed there were some vaults in there, and that there might be treasures stored within. Whether it was a treasure of gold and diamonds, or a treasure of sentimental nonsense, waffle, and thoughts ascribing talent that didn’t exist, well this he would try find out. This was quite a task though. It would be like Indiana Jones setting off to to find the lost ark only to later discover he was actually looking for the holy grail, but with all the disasters and traps still making difficult his way. And probably a lot less exciting.

Reginald was a tired this morning. He had to get up the previous morning or was it this same morning, or even this one? His brain was turning to mush and it didn’t seem make matter or sense. Cletus, his fabulous boy of the daytime, and sometime little terror of the night, had been in the terror of the night mode and decided to wake up at around the 3.00 AM mark. Then not go back to sleep again, like he normally did. He had cried and sat up, then stopped, then cried some more. Despite Reginald going in to see him, lying him back down to cries of “Come on, it’s sleepy time, go back to sleep”, Cletus had paid no mind. “I cry in the face of sleep”, cried Cletus as he, well he just cried, and that was it. A 14 month old boy doesn’t do much else at that time in the morning when annoyed. He has not acquired the power of useful speech yet and had little inclination to learn it at 3.00 AM, when being obliged to sleep. Reginald decided that a little cry it out therapy might have been in order, or if nothing else, a reasonable argument to convince Cletus of the need for sleep. In the meantime he had retired to the living room to read a little of Bill Bryson’s “At home”, an informative and amusing read, even at 3.25 AM, only to return to Cletus, and receive the same response.

Reginald decided to admit defeat and shuffle off back to his own bedroom, passing the Bill Bryson book on the way, and telling it that they would be reunited later that day. He flung open the bedroom door and addressed his wife Sally with considered phrasing of “It’s your turn, but maybe let him cry a bit more”. Sally slowly leapt out of bed enthusiastically stating “Arh, he’s cute, I can’t wait to see the little fella again”, or possibly “Oh man, I want to sleep”, Reginald could not remember which. He in turn then fell into bed with the enthusiasm of a large rock making it’s way to the bottom a deep pool. It didn’t help him sleep.

After another forty or so minutes Sally too admitted defeat. Cletus did not want to go back to sleep this morning. Sally did want to go back to sleep this morning. Reginald looked out. Being awake at a time when a Cockerel might consider it a little early to wake everyone up, Reginald could only have been in a bright mood. “Oh just bring him in here”, he cockadoodledooed. Cletus was brought in and placed in the bed, prompting him to immediately shut up and begin the now short process of falling back to sleep. Reginald and Sally were not in the practice of bringing Cletus to their bed and were not planning to continue this strategy. We’ll have to think of something else… , Reginald had thought, shortly before falling asleep yet another thirty minutes afterwards.

Reginald now sat by the laptop a little less slumped than before. Cletus had wandered over to say hello with a big smile on his face. However much a terror he may have been at night, Reginald was not prepared to bring his grumpiness, or complaints to Cletus that following day. At 14 months old, what was the point? Besides, having Cletus come find him, pleased to see what he was doing was still one of lives more pleasant experiences, and  on a daily basis too.

—–

Lexicon word for today: Consternation.