Monday, October 11, 2010

It's How You Look At It

I wrote several haiku poems during a workshop at the recent convention I attended. Kind of fun to jot them down using a list of words given as prompts. I used them as my submission this week for my wac group. I asked them to tell me which one they liked best and any other suggestions.

Talk about feedback! I had lots of critiques on the five short poems. The one they liked best was the one that was kind of an afterthought and one I even hesitated to send.

Another one left me a bit surprised. I had written about gravestones in France, thinking of the military cemetery we'd visited several weeks ago. What I wrote ended up being understood in two different ways. The poem is below. The word prompt was gravestones.

gravestones in France
all weep tears of anguish
senseless deaths, futile war

I meant that the visitors to the graves wept the tears, but some who read it took it to be the gravestones weeping. When I looked at the poem again, I saw how easily it could have been interpreted that way. So, I need to be more careful about doing that again. On the other hand, isn't poetry rather self-interpretive anyway? Maybe it's OK for different people to see different things in the same few words.  You might also like to know that some thought the last line a bit too 'already done' and suggested rewriting it. So far, I haven't come up with anything to replace that line.

The haiku that they liked best is this one. The word prompt was feather.

feather floats softly
on gentle autumn breeze
bird flies, loss unknown

The suggestion was to remove floats and gentle as they, too, are overused, perhaps even cliched words. Here it is in the new form, and I can see that it is stronger.

feather floats
on autumn breeze
bird flies, loss unknown

My own favorite is this one. The word prompt was came.

trembling hand grasps cane
diamond ring circles finger
life's chain of love

What you write may not be the same thing that readers see.


  1. I'm not very good at poetry, but can see the improvement in the suggestions. I may try some more haiku. I tried recently and enjoyed myself.

  2. I've had a lot of fun writing haiku. Wish more people would give it a try.