Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

I Wonder Why?

I wonder why

raindrops wander on the glass.

I wonder why

I marvel at the sky.

I wonder why

I sigh and cry.

I wonder why

I laugh and play.

I wonder why

I wonder

and wander through

my toybox mind.

What will I play with today?

I wonder.

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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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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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Clustering opens the floodgates of creativity. It quiets your inner critic and invites your creative self (I think of him as my dragon) to come out and play. Clustering is easy, it’s quick and it works. I learned (am still learning) the technique from “Writing the Natural Way” by Gabriele Rico, PhD.

Here’s an example that illustrates how clustering works for me and what I did each step of the way. I always use a blank sheet of paper and one of my fountain pens when I cluster. I recreated my hand drawn cluster with FreeMind so I could include it here.

Screenshot-FreeMind - MindMap Mode - As.mm

This sequence comes from the “What Am I?” metaphor exercise in Chapter Ten. I put “as” in the center of a sheet, drew a circle around it and clustered whatever popped into my head. I simply wrote down what my dragon told me. In one branch (the first I think) I saw myself as light, in the other as a bird. I don’t recall how long this took but clusters typically take less than three minutes, often less than a minute. Just let loose, trust your dragon and let the ideas rip.

At some point you’ll experience what Dr. Rico calls The Trial-Web Shift. As you cluster, you suddenly just know what you want to write about and you start writing.

This next step is what she calls the vignette. Go with it and write quickly. It will only take a minute or two. Here’s my vignette from this cluster.

I am a great hawk clinging to a strong branch, swaying, accepting the power of the wind, climbing into the light of sudden insight, plunging earthward, claws extended, pouncing on my prey and flying off, my latest idea, my newest insight screaming, then quiet as I find safe haven, land to devour and digest. I’m always hungry.

Once you have that first rough vignette, go back and play with it until you’re satisfied. You may want to invite your inner critic to join the party with you and your dragon.

I didn’t do anything with the vignette that day. I put my sketchbook away and came back to it another day. It wanted to be a poem so I played, wrote out and crossed out four pages of handwritten poem drafts until I was satisfied. I probably managed a few more tweaks when I typed out the final draft.


Here’s the final published version

Poetry: Ideas

A great hawk
I watch and wait
spiraling on thermals of insight

A great hawk
I thunder silently
impaling the unwary

A great hawk
I stretch my wings
dripping the blood of ideas

A great hawk
I settle to ground
devouring in delight

A great hawk
I watch and wait
riding my hunger

So what do you think? Does this help? Not being the bashful type, I’d be happy to do more of these. Let me know. Writing the Natural Way is a fantastic book. Not dry with theory, it’s a real course that pulls you in as a participant and it works. I had absolutely no idea where my clustering would lead and ended up with a neat little poem. Clustering is like magic. Maybe because dragons are magical creatures?

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