An array of Cabbage White and
Red Admiral bask on lavender,
Teasing a pen to paper.
Cupped hands chase air – the
Butterfly nurtured to move
Beyond arms reach, leaving
A brain derelict for description.
All that’s left
Are vague shadows and
Scribbles on a half empty page.
© Davy D 2017
Fragments are scattered across the glass table,
Their fragility enticing order.
There are no completed pictures
For guidance, only part read
Manuals cluttering dusty shelves.
No one has worked out the
Exact number of pieces and
Most attempts to fathom are fleeting.
Those remaining, experience
The slice of the scalpel, opening
To the core and laying
Them bare to investment.
When the puzzle is solved,
© Davy D 2017
A few months ago I wrote, what I thought, was my first Haiku.
One commenter on the post pointed out the poem was not a Haiku in the traditional sense.
It appeared I had stumbled upon the Senryu.
So what is the difference?
There is much debate within poetry and academia as to the difference between Haiku and Senryu.
The Haiku Society of America defines the haiku as “a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.”
They define Senryu as “a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.”
That’s that sorted; add a bit of satire or humour to a Haiku and you have a Senryu.
If only it was that simple. I have spent hours reading various essays, articles and websites debating the difference between the two forms and I am more confused than when I started.
Writing to the structure and framework of, for example a sonnet or a quatrain, is a great way to practice and develop the skill of poetry writing, but should it matter how we label or categorise the finished result?
At the end of the day it is all poetry.
I’m off to tackle the Haikai, Renku, Haibun and Hokku ………aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.
What are your thoughts on this. I’d love you to join the conversation.
I was having a clear up of the poetry den this week when I came across an old journal of my poetry. This was a collection of poems I had written between 1987 and 1989.
At the time I was working as a police officer in London and part of a unit dealing with major crime and disorder. The work was, at times, dangerous and handling high levels of stress and pressure was commonplace.
Writing these poems was a release valve, a time out to relax and get some thoughts and emotions down on paper. In 1989 I felt these poems were worthy of Shakespearian adoration. For whatever reason they never got any further than the bottom drawer.
Over twenty-five years later it was strange experience reading them again.
The Shakespearian delusions were shattered but, on reflection, I realised I had a number of useful drafts that could be moulded into pieces of poetry.
This made me think, is a poem ever finished?
Writing a poem is a snapshot in time. A photo of our thoughts, feelings and emotions in that moment.
We draft, re-draft, ponder, spend days mulling over changing a full stop into a comma.
The poem goes away and when we reacquaint ourselves with it, something has changed. Our lives are different; we are no longer the same people in that same moment.
If Sir John Betjeman was alive today would he change the words and tone of his poem Slough?
Would Wordsworth wake up in a sweat and re-write Daffodils?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Sitting at a barbeque, at the weekend, a guest turned to me and said “I hear you’re a poet.”
A conversation ensued which led to me showing her the Inside the Mind of Davy D blog.
After a short while browsing on her phone, she turned to me and whispered,
“That’s not poetry, it’s just words and pictures……………. and it doesn’t even rhyme.”
Before we got to the “How many books have you published?” question I thanked her for the feedback and went and got another glass of Malbec.
In fairness, she had a point and raised a good question, what is poetry?
Standard dictionary definitions show poetry as;
1. The art or craft of writing verse.
2. Literature written in meter; verse.
3. Prose that resembles a poem in some respect, as in form or sound.
4. Poetic qualities, spirit or feeling in anything.
Ask five poets to define poetry and they will give you five different answers.
To complicate matters further the website Poem Of Quotes lists 55 types of poetic form, ranging from ABC Poetry to Visual-Concrete Poetry.
So how do we establish what is poetry, and does it really matter?
Each week I read and enjoy many forms of poetry, some of which break the boundaries of what is considered to be conventional poetry. In my view, the most important thing should be the impact, thoughts and emotions the poem (in whatever form) leaves with the reader.
As William Wordsworth said, “All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feelings.”
What are your thoughts on what is, or is not, poetry?