I wish my absence from this blog had been because of an incredible artistic retreat, retracing Basho's travels perhaps, or that I could report I was returning having completed some great course of study, or with a vast new store of knowledge to share.
Unfortunately, the absence was due to a chaotic year with personal and professional storms which - sad to say - drowned out poetry in a sea of urgency.
That is not to say that the year has been without wisdom gained. Shortly after my last post I was privileged to enter an email correspondence over several months with the superb haiku poet, Polona Oblak, who kindly provided something of a masterclass on some of my verses, as well as sharing her own, and thereby gave me incredible insight into the labour and artistic ruthlessness required to produce such high quality verse. I had intended (and still do) to share in greater detail the lessons Polona imparted to me. But the time and effort require to produce a quality post to do justice to her has been not available to me since then. Instead, I will reprint the poem of my own, inspired by the correspondence with Polona, which was published on Tinywords in July last year:
the verses we exchange
For several months after I last posted, I instead enjoyed the routine of reading, reflecting, and commenting on the poems of Tinywords - something which provided me with an escape - at least for a brief period each day - from my other work. And I have come to realize my particular gifts may not lie in the direction of writing haiku myself. But what I particularly have come to enjoy - and received much positive feedback about - has been the commentary I leave in response to other people's poems.
Of course, I have still been writing sporadically. Haiku is about experiencing the world around us, being attentive to moments. It is about living mindfully. Balancing left and right halves of the brain. But stress does not make for sensitivity. It focuses the brain on solving problems and avoiding harm. Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us to change our focus, and last week a work colleague provided that shake up which brought me back to Tinywords, and to haiku.
My posts will therefore generally be more focused and brief, sharing my commentary on haiku that move and inspire me. It will include many more contemporary poets from the Tinywords site, as well as reflections on the works of the Japanese masters from my library.
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