Poetry and Inspiration

Reacquainting myself with an old friend

I was enjoying reading I. K. Paterson-Harkness’s recent blog on Haiku and thought I’d post something of my own. My interest in poetry and the actual writing of poetry has been rekindled lately, to the extent that I’ve purchased a couple of books to get me back in the mode (or is it in the mood?).

books

One was Six Centuries of English Poetry Tennyson to Chaucer: Typical Selections from the Great Poets, (1892) by James Baldwin, and the other, Above the River: The Complete Poems, by (author) Professor James Wright.

I chose the first book to reacquaint myself with some of the works and the styles of the classic poets, some of whom I read decades ago, and others of whom I’m sorely ignorant.  And as is often the way for me, I heard one of James Wright’s poems being read last week on National Radio and liked it so much that it spurred me to purchase more of his work.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in
Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

(James Wright)

Poetic Forms

Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head
Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head

Another book I’ve loved for years is Paul B. Janeczko’s, A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005).  This book lists 29 different poetic forms and provides examples for each. I’d recommend it if you are interested in the challenge of some of the more complex styles.  The illustrations are neat, too.

Haiku from a Distant Summer

Here’s my Haiku offering… something I wrote way back in 1995 when I was living in St Leonards, Dunedin.

Dry parched hills
reflected
in the eyes of our cats
amber, gold and brown.

Cicadas
rapid fluting melody
I catch my breath
as they fly

Flax seeds
ripening broom pods
exploding
thistledown
caught on the breeze

Arid creek
quiet noise
sunlight dulled by
brackish pool
eucalyptus

Jane Percival
(March 1995)

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