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poem: their journey withered

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

heron’s cry —
in the falling darkness
two blossoms

autumn thunder, evening
a branch trembles
as crow goes wandering
the petals alight
on mountain snow

heat-faded remains of daffodils,
their journey withered
in inches

Snow comes early in the mountains, but dried flower petals retain the memory of summer’s heat. And everything has its own journey to make, whether long or short.

I linked this poem to the readwritepoem blog, where there is a weekly poetry “prompt” inviting people to submit poems on a new theme each week. This week’s theme was giving up control, writing a poem by pulling randomly from a bag of words that had been cut up from a different source — another poem, a newspaper article, or even a memo from the boss at work :-).

I randomly selected words from some of my favorite haiku from Basho. Here they are as I pulled them from the bag (highlighting the phrases that I used for my poem):

heron’s cry falling darkness two blossoms field echo lightning above nightfall temple autumn thunder evening branch trembles wandering goes crow petal alights mountain snow leaves shimmering heat faded remain daffodils journey withered inches dead silence one into perfect fragrant enough waterfall’s rose barely dried bells sick first bend dream grass stabs

Then all I did was add some line breaks and a few tweaks for grammar. If you are going to try to make a poem from words pulled from a bag, you could do worse than starting with Basho’s words!

(You can read other poets’ submissions on the theme at the readwritepoem blog too.)

  1. October 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

    lovely… naturally, a fine choice of words to begin your morphing-into-a-dynamic poem. Great read… fine job.

  2. October 22, 2009 at 8:53 am

    You selected fine lines and did a great job.

    Terma Rima: psychedelic pajamas

  3. October 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

    You managed to keep a surprising amount of the feel of haiku in the more extended poem. Basho as a starting point certainly gave an advantage, but you had to fit everything in place intelligibly and artistically, which you managed very well.


  4. October 22, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Dave, you’re back! Where have you been, stomping around the hills and valleys? I found the play of words in your poem pulling at my memories of living in the Colorado and Arizona mountains. Thanks for the ride and your fine effort.

    It’s good to be back :-) There was a bit of hills and valleys but mostly just work work work. — throwshiswords

  5. davidmoolten
    October 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I think the idea of using Basho haiku for this exercise was a very good one, as they have great energy in each of the words, which you have retained and transmitted deftly here, the final poem original and yet with a haiku-like brevity and natural focus.

  6. October 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    These are so very interesting, concise and perfectly haikuesque. I can see that you had far more fun than I and more talent, as well!

  7. October 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Very lovely, each bit it’s own small gem.

  8. October 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    This turned out wonderfully. The ending is lovely.

  9. October 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    nicely done…thanks for sharing this

  10. October 25, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I really love the title, especially the word “withered.” I think it would be great to call your unique cut-up haiku as “withered” haiku! You may have invented an entirely new genre! Were all the Basho pieces you selected all translated by the same translator?
    –Therese L. Broderick

    The haiku came from different collections with different translators. But since they were the translations that spoke most to me I suppose they might seem to have a common feel. — throwshiswords

  11. October 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

    “their journey withered in inches” gives me chills. great work!

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