Haiku

My Time: A Haiku Poem by Rebecca Johnstone

I'm delighted that my Haiku poem 'The Creative Cycle' was included in the recent Scottish Poetry Library and Voluntary Arts Scotland anthology 'My Time'.

My Time Poetry Anthology, Rebecca Johnstone.jpg

The call-out last year for people to respond with poetry to the theme of 'creativity' and how they spend their time really spoke to me as a creative person and writer. Last year was very busy for me and I didn't have a lot of 'spare' time, but I always try to do something creative each day. 

I would have liked to have sent off a longer piece, but a Haiku felt like the perfect balance of time and words:

Patterns mark my time

a kaleidoscope retreat

sketch, paint, stitch: repeat

I said with my response this piece was inspired by drawing and painting motifs to use when designing patterns, which is true, but I also like the idea of patterns as rhythms denoting and delineating my days, my hours, my life.

With a young baby to care for this is even more true for me at the moment, with the opportunity for dedicated creative time compressed and dictated by baby's naps and my own inclination. Time for us all is so precious.

I still draw and sketch, and watercolours are an accessible and easy way to get creative in fleeting moments. Words too create patterns and even the form of a Haiku poem is an unspoken rhythm.

It reminds me of my 100-days of Haiku 100-day project.

When I look back at those poems now, they are like a mini journal entry each day into my life right then. I love nothing more than documenting the things that are important to me, to capture them and remember them, but it's the tiny details of life that are important too.

When I was talking to a fellow writer recently about trying to 'capture' and remember these early days with my beautiful baby boy, she said something that really stuck with me:

You don't need to worry about remembering the important things, because if something is important, it will stay with you anyway

I love that. And it's so true!

I think I'm going to write more Haiku now...

Midweek Poetry: A Festive Haiku by daintydora

I love the nostalgia of Christmas, and particularly the memories of Christmas past, however rose-tinted they may be. Christmas tree street scene

Last year I posted my thoughts on the increasing commercialisation of Christmas, and I still feel sad that a festive holiday has become associated with over-spending on electronic gadgets. (And that some people - not just children - are confused about the purpose of Advent as it has become so tangled up with chocolate calendars...)

But instead, I'd like to focus on my happy, nostalgic memories of Christmas:

Huge fairy-light lanterns in bright colours
The cat eating the tinsel
The smell of pine needles from the tree (especially in the early morning darkness)
The anticipation of waiting for 'Father Christmas' to visit on Christmas Eve
Hanging my stocking each year as a child
Making snowflakes from sheets of white paper
The magic of snow falling on Christmas Eve/Day

I always wrote a huge list asking for all sorts of wild and wonderful gifts, like any child, but it was never just about the presents.

A festive haiku of baubles

For my penultimate poem of the year, I've chosen to revert back to the beautifully simple structure that recalls the heady Spring/Summer days earlier in the year of my 100 day project, with a *festive* haiku:

Red lips and mince pies
sing of icy winter skies:
magical Christmas.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

 

Midweek Poetry: Autumn Leaves by daintydora

The changing of the season - slowly, turning, turning, colder, darker - demands the succinct brevity of a haiku poem today, on the date of the Autumn Equinox. Autumn Leaves

A green leaf turned red
blushing into autumn winds;
the wind that changed me.

Each season shows us its touch with so many wonderful moments and experiences. Lucid, wonderful moments, yet often so fleeting (the nature of life).

I love to celebrate the seasons and this is an ode to autumn, and this, and finally - some slightly poetic seasonal thoughts:

Bright sunshine and dandelions wild and stooping. Lights on behind curtains. Hand-knitted hats and new leather boots. Conversations visible in the breath of strangers. The moon blossoming to full as another month ushers us onwards towards our destiny. A wind of change.
And it's beautiful.

 

Midweek Poetry: 100 days of Haiku for the 100 day project by daintydora

I did it! We did it! So many people did it! Every day from 6th April - 14th July I wrote a haiku poem and posted it on Instagram for accountability using #100daysofhaiku.

It was just a small thing, a few lines, simple arrangements of words; frivolous noticings shot through with emotional outpourings in only 17 syllables each time: 5-7-5.

The 100 day project was dreamed up by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent.

The point was about fostering a habit and committing to yourself and your creativity, being vulnerable and doing it anyway. There's going to be #100day parties around the world!

I'm seriously struggling to pick a favourite but one of them is definitely from the giddy first days of the project, Day 9:

 

As time spins by in a whirlwind of action and doing and chatter and ideas, it seems particularly to resonate for me just now.

And I'm including yesterday's, handily written into my Mslexia writer's diary, because it was inspired by a true story which I plan to one day include in the novel (trilogy?) of my family 'saga':

 

What's been really special about the project is being aware of my surroundings each day and consciously thinking about my haiku-habit and what I will write about (other days, super-busy days, it's been a bit of a...last minute thing...)

But it's similar to the mindful writing exercise 'small stones' that my friend Vikki told me about last year. The idea being to always carry a notebook and write down the little things that you notice, the 'small stones' of your day.

As a writer, the small stones can often become big stones that could then become the ideas for a short story or a novel, or perhaps a tiny book. Who knows. But you don't want to lose those little pre-polished nuggets of stone because one day they could be gold.

And that's how I've come to think of my haiku - like panning for gold at the end of the day.

A writer and an alchemist in one. Stones, birds, time, emotions, thoughts, love.

I'll definitely do more haiku poetry. After a breather. And I'm going to put them all together into a handy haiku e-book to give away free. So there we go: a tiny book from a proud creative achievement.

Meanwhile, I didn't win the Synaesthesia Magazine poetry competition. But I was a finalist and that meant a lot. Congrats to the winner and runners up.

I'm not sad. Well I am a bit disappointed.

I'm just going to have to find more 'small stones' to spin into gold.

 

Friday Diary: 75 days of haiku poems by daintydora

I started my #100daysofhaiku on 6th April - 75 days ago. It's gone slowly and it's gone quickly. (I love that in Japanese/Buddhist philosophy, opposites are always both true.) At times I've written a few in a day, other times I've struggled to come up with anything much at all and ended up with 17 syllables of silly. Other times I've been out and posted minutes - seconds - before midnight. I've written about some of my observations at various junctures/milestones along the way.

What I'm most proud of is that I've not missed a single day.

It feels like an achievement, however small, and something I'm proud of. A good habit. A daily observation of the world around me. Thoughts and feelings and experiences distilled into haiku poems.

And my enthusiasm is as high as ever as I enter the final quarter of this challenging project. I might just continue!

So here's my 75th haiku poem (which is also 'botaiku' because it has a garden/botanical theme):

Haiku poems: Day 75 of #100daysofhaiku

Weeds soar skyward-bound
vying for attention on
allotment fifteen".

Interestingly, when I scroll through my feed of haiku poems on Instagram, there seems to be a recurrence of themes such as: the moon, love, emotions, garden and ethereal, sad things.

I'm not sure what that says about me (apart from that I'm obsessed by the moon, am vivid (cliché?) when it comes to love, experience strong emotions, have recently started growing vegetables and am drawn to ethereal and sad things...)

But the accountability aspect of posting each day to Instagram has made the difference between success and waning motivation. Being accountable in this way - visually - amongst friends that are also taking part in their own 100 day projects - has made it fun to try to capture my words in new and innovative ways. I know that's not the total point, but I'm creative and I love to fully embrace the available options of sharing words on a visual platform.

I've used pen, pencil, post-it notes, my vintage typewriter, watercolours, tiny dots, coloured paper, words over images in magazines, digital images, Photoshop, a napkin, a postcard, and I've left a variety of these in public places.

I had an amazing idea to use my letter stencil quite early on, but so far its location has eluded me. There's still time.

Onwards to the next 25 days of #100daysofhaiku, and beyond.

 

Midweek Poetry: Distorted Visions in Haiku by daintydora

I don't set out to be melancholy, but sometimes that's what comes out. I love light, bright, vivid, happy, colouful things - of course I do - but I also respect the 'dark days' of monochrome when tear-misted thoughts twist inwards like the black knife of night.

And you need to be creative when every new day demands a haiku poem before lights out. So.

Day 59/100 #100daysofhaiku:

Day 59/100 Distorted Visions Haiku

Distorted visions
play in magnified prisms
blurring tears away."

Follow my progress through The Great Discontent's 100 day project (#the100dayproject) on Instagram.

 

50 days of Haiku by daintydora

So, a whole 50 days of haiku...

50 days of haiku - figs, quinces, plums, pears

Halfway through. I can't believe it. I'm impressed with myself.

Creating a 5-7-5 haiku poem each day has really become a habit; words twisted into a semblance of order but with no rhyme or reason (though I still throw in some rhyme now and then. I can't help myself.)

Today, Day 50 of my #100daysofhaiku journey (shared every day without fail on Instagram), I've delved deep into the evocations of hot summer in a faraway finca in the hills of Italy or maybe Spain. A delicious remembering of all that nature provides, of the richness of the earth and also of language:

Figs, quinces, plums, pears
seductive fresh finca fayre
intense night flavours."

Taste those succulent pears and feel the juice run down your face and sticky your hands.

Draw your eyes over the lush green swathe of trees and plants and flowers laid out before you, watch day slip into night where a new menu of seductions await, and know, really know: this is living, this is the true essence of life, this is the nitty-gritty pleasure of it all.

I welcome the illusions, allusions, thoughts, ideas, images, simile and metaphor that swarm into my consciousness for the next 50 days.

Thanks so much to The Great Discontent and Elle Luna for devising this amazing challenge.

 

Midweek Poetry: 100 days of Haiku by daintydora

I signed up to show up, as part of The Great Discontent's 100 days project. And I'm excited.

I picked Haiku (#100daysofhaiku) because:

1. I've never done it before
2. I love poetry and words
3. I thought a simple 5-7-5 syllabic formula was...manageable

It's day 3, inspired by the gig I went to in Glasgow last night: Lone Lady groovin' it out:

 

Low ceiling red light
beats like dreams dripping from beams
tripping on the night.

 

Sign up if you haven't already, and just add on the days you missed. Just do it! Show up.