Whirling Haiku and Senryu

The first line of each haiku or senryu below is taken from “August” by Arizona poet Richard Shelton.
This week’s whirling words are: hips, marrow, crocuses, stillness, massive, secret, flower, grief, window, perhaps, hand, clatter, colors

As if she owned them,
she charged her hips to swagger
down the dusty street.
~~ ~~ ~~
bruised moon and darkness
the marrow of the heavens
leaking from cracked bones
~~ ~~ ~~
a great blue peacock
seven golden crocuses—
eight spring gifts for you
~~ ~~ ~~
Our little fingers
settled into stillness,
then formed holy signs.
~~ ~~ ~~
We see her old ship,
its massive sails billowing—
no one at the helm.
~~ ~~ ~~
The lady in black
imparts to me a secret—
I decide to flee.
~~ ~~ ~~
In the market place
she buys a single flower—
then it turns to stone.
~~ ~~ ~~
She wears the postures
of grief and consternation,
mumbling to the fox.
~~ ~~ ~~
over her window
a map of all the sorrows
she has ever known
~~ ~~ ~~
We bring her our hands—
perhaps she can persuade them
to write poetry.
~~ ~~ ~~
With its dark cargo,
my hand is fit companion
for the furtive ones.
~~ ~~ ~~
Run out on the floor
with a clatter and a shout—
Spirit wants to dance!
~~ ~~ ~~
As if they belonged,
the colors settled on us—
lingering spirits.

© 2012 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 57
More Poetry Picnic Week 36

Posted on May 20, 2012, in haiku, Poetry Picnic, Richard Shelton, senryu, The Sunday Whirl. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. While I truly enjoy and marvel at all your multiple haiku wordles, I challenge you next week to write one single poem using the wordle words. 🙂

    • magicalmysticalteacher

      You know, Viv, I’ve done that in the past: written one single poem with the Wordle words. While I appreciate your challenge, I doubt very much I’ll rise to it. I am inexorably committed to making my mark as a haiku/senryu poet, and the only way I know how to do that is to keep at it doggedly day after day after day. My daily quota (when I’m not traveling) is a minimum of six pages of haiku/senryu, which translates into about 72 little snapshots of the ordinary. If only one of those 72 shines, then I am satisfied. Some days, all the snapshots are dull and out of focus, but I keep writing! Thank you for your support and encouragement.

  2. Wow! That’s some going. If I write 3 or 4 that’s going some! OK, I’ll lift the challenge, but how about a haiku chain using them all?

    • magicalmysticalteacher

      A chain? Maybe. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try to practice during the week to get my writing hand in shape! 🙂

  3. These are of course lovely,lyrical, filled with mystical images.. It is interesting that Viv brought up a little challenge for you – Perhaps it is because your haikus are becoming so consistently solidly good – I had a similar response this morning. Rather than “WOW” which your haikus so inspire – I felt “oh” of course. I think the excellence of your lines deserves more from me. Then again – I have come to anticipate with joy the series of haikus and follow the disciplined flight of your mind. Soar, of course as you will, I will be following 🙂

    • magicalmysticalteacher

      Sometimes I get the feeling that readers think I dash off my haiku in a few minutes. Once in a great while, that happens. Most of the time it does not. Today’s collection of haiku and senryu took many hours of work, both in the writing and the revising.

      To give a flawless performance, the concert pianist practices many hours per day. Before putting a brush to the canvas, the artist spends hours—days!—making pencil sketches in preparation. When she is finally ready to paint, the hours of sketching pay off, making her brush strokes seem effortless.

      I will take an “oh, of course” as a compliment, because that indicates the final product looks as though it came effortlessly.

      Shakespeare achieved mastery of the sonnet form because he practiced it over and over, to the exclusion of other forms. I intend to achieve mastery of the haiku and senryu forms the same way. If poetry lovers would prefer to read sonnets or sestinas or an Indian naani, they’ll have to go to another blog or book to read them, because I don’t write them!

  4. I enjoyed the comments here this morning as much as your haiku. It’s interesting to hear you speak of your craft. My favorite this week is the piece with “hands.”

  5. Thank you for reaching out… Whether your writing takes hours days weeks or seconds…it is the beauty of the haiku – that flawless “performance” if you will that matters.  I deeply regret any misunderstanding in my early ( for me very early) muddled comment!  Yes ” of course” was and is intended as a compliment! Your haikus are a joy! You write – I shall continue to anyicipate another ” of course” as in “Oh… Of course! Another beautiful sunrise, with as much awe and relief in its beauty… and I shall continue to enjoy.  

  6. Whoops …obviously meant…”anticipate” 🙂

  7. I’m with Brenda on her favourite. That one sounds so right as well as being a lovely snapshot.

    Thank you for your discussion of how you achieve what you do. I have a single haiku that I have been going back and forth pruning forever. Like any poem, of course it takes a long time and much thought. In many ways, because of the shortness of the form, there is no leeway for forgiveness. You have to get it right. I’m glad you are here for us to study, to have a s a model.

  8. Beautiful haiku! From my experience, it is very difficult to write even one haiku, let alone thirteen. I say bravo to you! I look forward to reading them each week.
    I especially liked:
    “bruised moon and darkness
    the marrow of the heavens
    leaking from cracked bones”

  9. I enjoyed your interesting approach this week of taking the first line from “August” and going from there, writing haiku from the wordle words. Definitely a double challenge to accomplish that! And you did….well.

  10. I always enjoy your posts. Which is odd, since haiku normally leave me with a “okay, nice”.
    Can’t imagine myself with enough focus to write like that.
    My guess is that Viv thought of a single piece because these are more connected than usual. Probably the Shelton poem working on them.

  11. It has been interesting to read both your wonderful haiku and the comments following this week … all I ever think is – wow, I am so in awe and envious of this kind of talent; my experience with the form is labour intensive and still found greatly wanting. I applaud the challenge you have set yourself and can see your artistry growing as you continue to work away at it – in my opinion, you just keep getting better and better. I wondered if you have ever tried out for Daily Haiku? (they “audition” poets to write for them in quarterly segments) – I think you would be a good fit there.


  12. Your first one reminds me of the Alan Sherman parody on Molly Malone…(something to the likes of) the streets were to narrow, her were hips were too wide…
    And my other two favorites where Number 2 and 3. Some of the others too remind me of fairy tale openings…

    I offer:

  13. I also enjoyed the comments today. And am in complete agreement with your approach to the craft you love, respect, and do so well. Although I enjoyed all of your verses, especially liked the one about hands. As a former writing instructor, it brought back many memories.


  14. We see her old ship,
    its massive sails billowing—
    no one at the helm.

    I love this one, it highlights something I close to my heart. For me your haiku is accessible, so few words whiled like magic into bits of gold.

  15. *whirled 🙂

  16. The colours belong. The words belong, to you. God, you’re awesome.

  17. These seem to have a thread, and I know it’s breezy to read them but takes focus to write haikus, which I personally can’t do.

  18. Your haiku always seem to absorb in layers and get heavier as I scroll down. Really great writing.

    ” We bring her our hands—
    perhaps she can persuade them
    to write poetry.”

    I really like this, I can identify with this feeling right now. Less than productive day. 🙂

  19. Contrary to Viv, I find that your haiku/senryu actually does create a chain in this particular wordle! They flow together, tethered by not only their rhythm but also by their amazing and mystifying unity of thought. Of course my reading on this set is based on my expectations that one would follow the other in sequence, but they still seem to – even after reading them again!.

    I am more of an eclectic poet, and don’t believe i could ever stick to one style alone, so I am amazed at your tenacity. My mind moves in too many directions to center on one form – besides, I am far too wordy and loquacious – especially for haiku or senryu! That’s the main critique I get from other poets. Words are my babies and I have a hard time cutting them out – even to the detriment of the poem. I guess that’s why I’ll never be a famous poet! But who cares? I love writing, I love poetry, I love what I do and couldn’t stop doing it if I tried

    Thanks so much for visiting my site. Come back any time! I’ve recently started a photo blog – the link is on my writer’s page. Enjoy if and when you have the time or inclination.

  20. I’m massively impressed with this.. a tapestry of haiku which leads you by the hand.. I love this kind of “opaque” poetry.. bravo!!

  21. Brilliant. Each one shows depth and an aha moment.

  22. I enjoyed reading this. Quite passionate, I thought and it also made me envious. I can’t write a haiku to save my life. Have a wonderful weekend. Be blessed!


  23. This is quite an endeavor, using the first lines from others’ poems and then weaving the wordle words in as well. I admire your passion, your skill, and especially the line, “the marrow of the heavens/leaking through cracked bones.” Now that is a keeper! Great job, and thanks SO much for leaving a URL to this at my blog! Amy

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