Renewed Life


During this National Poetry Month, Laura Purdie Salas has written and posted an equation poem for each day. I’ve really come to look forward to seeing them and wanted to try my hand at one before the month ended.

The north Alabama countryside is absolutely beautiful during the months of March and April, and in many ways that’s because of the rain we get. Mayapples are a favorite part of spring for me.


A Trio of Tankas

I think of greenbriar
in the early months of spring
their tendrils waving —
like me, they look for something
to bring them up to the light


Flitting in and out
of the brush beside the trail
the small bird beckons
entreating me to follow
where it knows I cannot go


I’m faced with a choice
two paths through the springtime wood
both calling to me —
I know, yes, I must decide
or simply stand there alone

So Much to Learn

My name is Tim, and I don’t know everything.

Isn’t that how it goes?  Admitting one’s problem so it’s possible to move on from it?  I don’t know for sure, after all: I just said I don’t know everything.

That said, in this case, I think I’m getting a clue. Just a clue, but it’s a start.

Okay, okay, okay…I used to think writing a haiku was easy.

Whew.

I wanted to write a few more paragraphs to build a bit of suspense and a touch of tension, but I had to just get it off my chest.  I couldn’t wait any longer.

I used to think writing haiku was easy.  I used to think haiku was the stuff of school poetry month in the early elementary grades.  I used to think 5-7-5…how hard can it be?  

I was wrong.  There’s a lot more to it, and I’m lovin’ it.

Before I go further, in my defense, it can be easy:

I’m just sitting here
looking at the cursor flash
wondering what’s next

The third line was the toughest of the three, but most of the difficulty came with deciding whether or not “wondering” had two syllables or three.  I deferred to Mirriam Webster and went with three, despite the fact that I usually say, “won-dring.”

Instead of “easy,” though, let’s go with “accessible.”  Because it is.  The example I just shared took me about a minute to write (“And it shows,” you whisper.) This morning my wife and I stood in the kitchen trying to come up with a haiku on the subject of rhyming with orange. We weren’t creating high art, but we were having fun. Poetry is supposed to be like that: fun!

Getting back to haiku, though: I still don’t know everything.  Not even close.  But over the past few weeks of National Poetry Month, I’ve read a lot of wonderful haiku, and I’ve learned a lot about the form.  I’ve even posted a few of my own, along with a few tankas, a skinny, a nonet or two, a haibun, and some free verse poetry. 

I’ll continue to learn, and I’ll continue to write.  To those of you who have served as mentors for my efforts, thank you!  


Thank you to the folks at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge! If you’ve not seen it, check it out at https://twowritingteachers.org


It doesn’t even have to be 5-7-5? Mind blown.  

Nonet: Trees

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a fantastic breakout session that was part of the 2021 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi.  The session, with poets Irene Latham, Vikram Madan, and Laura Purdie Salas, was entitled Word-Joy: Experience the Transformative Power of Poetry.

It was a fantastic workshop, filled with plenty of material that I’ll put to use in my classroom very soon. Many thanks to Irene, Vikram, and Laura!

One of the forms I was introduced to today (thank you again, Irene) is called a nonet.  Nine lines, the first with one syllable, the second with two, and so on until the final with nine.  Sometimes the poem starts with the longest line and ends with the shortest.

Here’s one of the few that I wrote yesterday.

Trees

Trees
standing
tall and strong
with leaves blowing
and branches swaying.
As the spring months go by
and the summer days approach
I look forward to the long walks
the time spent beneath their canopies.