I'm not a poet. I don't pretend to be one, but every so often I'm moved to read poetry. I love books my friends have written. Sara Robinson's poems are profound and deeply personal as are Judy Light Ayyildiz's. Yes, I've read the great classical poets, but I love my friends' work as much if not more.
I most frequently turn to Japanese and Chinese poetry when I need inspiration. Or Rumi for something more mystical. I love Han Shan, the great Zen Cold Mountain poet, Li Po from the T'ang dynasty and, of course, Basho the haiku master.
It is the Japanese poetic styles of haiku and tanka that draw me when I try writing something. The control you need for a 5-7-5 haiku or a 5-7-5-7-7 tanka are a challenge to a wordy fiction writer.
With winter winding down, I captured one last look at winter. I hope it's the last look, but who knows.
Storm moaning outside,
leaving behind wet ground and
I wrote a series of haiku a couple of years ago for the four seasons. Titled Seasonally Affective Order, they go like this:
Whites, browns, yellows, blacks
Gang warfare @ the bird feeder.
Gently rocking waves
Lull one to sleep—
The nose peels.
Apple, cherry, pumpkin
Pies in the oven—
Time for the gym.
One slippery step—
I leave you with a tanka, which actually has the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable scheme.
Distant owl questions
Woodpecker raps out response --
Not here, not yet here--
Glass door slides silently open
Tai chi cat oozes outside