Tuesday, June 13, 2006


A couple of blogs I frequent recently started-in on the evergreen practice of writing about writing. It’s such an obligatory exercise (and one that is so often coupled to youthful naïveté) that it often warrants sighing and shaking one’s head, before returning to more important things. But to anyone who writes, even we vulgar bloggers, what is more important to our writing than these exporations of voice and influence?
I confess, I was taken-in by the discussions and even found myself posing to myself questions about my writing that I haven’t asked in years.
I looked back and saw the thread of my voice evolve from the wildly imaginative and undisciplined ramblings of a teenager, to the pedantic prose of an undergraduate, to the Spartan cadence of a technical writer. The influences are obvious, but I hadn’t given them any thought for a long time.
A pragmatist, I have resolved that like lifting weights in the evening and practicing Tai chi at lunch, I can get my writing in shape. This will take a diet of focused reading and exercising description, dialog, and theme.
Having identified a need to hammer (among many other things) observation and concision, on Friday I recorded my commute home from the office in a series of haiku. The piece is akin to starting with the five-pounders, but that’s where I am.

B to A

Aimlessly forward
Windows reflect all, I see
Worrying trees, me

Tap, tap, silent lamps
Four thousand three hundred twelve
Lighting my way home

A secret language
They laugh at my ignorance
Illuminate me

Grey, coffered concrete
Jonah; belly of the whale
Regurgitate me

Ponderous cannon
Propels me from silent depths
Sunlight on my face

A place I once knew
Trees, sweat, fatigue, cutting grass
Lost beneath concrete

The end of the line
Trains go on to Neverland
Soon, my wife’s embrace

1 comment:

Revolutionary Poetics said...

Dear Er--

Your blog is taking shape. Thanks for visiting my writing . Your Haiku exercise was fun. Do you know Blyth's collection? Another favorite of mine is the collection of deathbed haiku by Japanese Zen masters (yolanda I think is the editor--I have to check) --then there is Issa, my favorite haiku poet.
You're probably not into Beat poets--but Allen Ginsberg taught us a great exercise --based on how mind functions:
First line: primary perception
2nd line: recognition (or recap of line 1)
3rd line surprise--

I remembered this exercise when I read your last haiku in the series-- ending in th eembrace of oyur wife--very nice but also logical too!

Best Wishes--Jacqueline