Posts Tagged ‘haiku’

Wheels circle round on edge

Not yet now comes past and gone

Unwinding life’s line

I wrote this poem, a haiku, earlier this year.
The seed came to me as I clustered on “circles” one day. I got to thinking about the wheels on my bicycle as I ride, how a small patch of tire comes around, touches the earth for an instant, then begins the journey all over again, leaving a line in it’s wake.


Here, the tire is still, resting after climbing a hill. Actually, I was resting — I doubt the tire cared. I snapped this closeup on a whim. I always carry my little digicam with me on my rides.


And when I come this way, I always stop to rest beside this cornfield. Here is the new corn, the promise of early summer.


And here, the mature corn waits for the harvest.


And finally (until next year) the stubble left after the combine scythed through the cornfield. I missed seeing the combine in action this year. It’s an awesome thing to watch as it rumbles and cuts the rows of corn.

Bicycle wheels unwinding the road. The cycle of nature winding through the seasons until the harvest — until next year.

This cornfield is destined to become a public park.
It was purchased by the County as part of the farmland preservation program. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to photograph this field with the stubble poking through a light snow cover. I’d like that.

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Good luck. You’re going to need it. How do you measure a baby’s smile? is an expression I like to use when someone suggests measuring the unmeasurable. Any attempt to measure a baby’s smile or any other emotion is going to run head on into an oxymoron, an impossibility. A baby’s smile is an emotional outpouring that forges an instant connection with our own emotions and our inner being,  and short circuits our rational side.


You can’t possibly measure the tears of a broken heart, the earth shattering grief of losing a loved one, the beauty of a sunrise or a baby’s smile, but you can try to capture the moment in words, a photograph or a drawing…

Such an image is a gestalt (leave it to the Germans to invent the perfect word). The more powerful the image, the stronger the gestalt. We, the viewer or reader, are drawn in instantly. Somehow we become one with the object. We know, we feel, and the sum is much greater than the parts.

When I work with a photograph, I know when it’s right. I can’t explain, and I don’t think an explanation matters anyway. The image speaks for itself. It’s easier to understand how a photograph, a drawing or a painting can give us that gestalt, that instantaneous recognition, because our right brain is visual, swallows whole and understands without words.

Words are sequential and take longer to “decode.” The creative writer has a different challenge then. A challenge to create a word image, to paint a verbal picture that builds to it’s own crescendo.

The poet probably comes closest, as he or she packs so much meaning and emotion into few words. I love the haiku. So spare and yet such fullness in only 17 syllables. Much is unsaid and therein lies the real power. The unsaid completes the image because we, the readers close the circuit.

Smallest warrior
Wordless, she pierces the heart
Smiling her embrace

Yes, what is left unsaid is the secret to powerful images, be they visual images or word paintings. The photographer who captures “the moment,” the writer who cares about every word and phrase, who creates pictures with words — they understand that you can never measure a baby’s smile. They know when the image or the words are right and that’s enough.

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Clustering will lead you on journeys of discovery, surprise and delight. It may seem a bit scary to set off on a journey when you don’t know the destination, but this is the magic of clustering. Let go, don’t censor, follow your feelings and enjoy the ride. First I’ll show you the final destination for my “Hands” cluster, a Haiku, then take you with me on my journey.

Hand security_wm

Haiku: Hands

Tears fall in silence.
A whisper touch drinks the pain.
Hands. How wonderful.

I wrote the word “hands” in the middle of a blank sheet, then as each thought occurred to me, I wrote it down and circled it. One thought led to another and another until I “knew” what to write.


Digital reproduction of my original hand drawn cluster

The vignette is reproduced below. I didn’t worry about punctuation, formatting or any other left-brain, inner critic stuff. I wrote until I felt I should stop.

hands see in the dark
eyes that touch
other hands
eyes and tears
wipe them away
and touch
another hand
a shoulder
a breast
a soul
electric flow
touch together
wring apart
hands — how sad
hands — how wonderful
they breathe
and talk
and see
in the dark
turn on the light

This first vignette is pregnant with ideas. I worked with it, each version shrinking until I had the idea for a Haiku. Haikus are fun. They force you into a compression where each word must carry so much meaning.

It all begins with a single word or phrase. A cluster, an outpouring of ideas and feelings, a vignette and a creative journey that you can repeat time after time. Clustering is magic, a license to listen to your dragon. Your dragon isn’t as bashful as you might think. He’s just waiting for your invitation to the dance.

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