Thursday, March 17, 2016

The 5-Minute Spring Break by Betsy Ashton

My husband and I missed our winter getaway this year. Why? Because we didn't make reservations at our favorite Florida getaway in time. Now, with spring around the corner, I need a five-minute spring break. I turned to poetry, my own and others.

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
powdered-sugar snow.

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
Screeching, shoving—
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.

Ice-shrouded world
One slippery step—
Technicolor moon.

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

What is your five-minute spring break?

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Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

7 comments:

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I walk around the yard and touch all the shrubs and trees and talk to them. "Wake up, it's spring. Your winter sleep is over." Calvin and I both love Rumi. A lovely post.

Jannine Gallant said...

I am definitely not a poet, but I love your efforts! I have too much snow for a spring break yet, 5 minutes or otherwise. Hopefully soon!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Beautiful stuff. I needs that, Betsy. Thanks.

Leah St. James said...

Love your pieces, Betsy! I run more toward limericks when writing "poetry," but haiku was my favorite as a teen. I wrote one about a year ago about the traffic on I64 ("the interstate") going through Hampton Roads, Va. Wish I could remember it!

My favorite go-to five-minute break is the beach. I grew up at the Central Jersey Shore and live about 10 miles from the Chesapeake right now. Even in the cold, it frees my mind.

Alicia Dean said...

I've never really been into poetry, but the ones you shared are lovely.

Diane Burton said...

The imagery in your poems are beautiful. Minimalistic. I've never enjoyed poetry before. Reminds me too much of school where we had to explain what they meant instead of just enjoying them.

d92781b6-f2c9-11e5-a214-7b2e1297e7f1 said...

What a lovely way to welcome the early spring, which lends itself to so many poetic images, undertones, overtones and metaphors. Your poems are vibrant and fresh as the air. What more can I say except I like them and appreciate spring and your springing into poetry.