The North Wind doth Blow?

Climate, Poetry, Weather

Have you noticed? For all we’ve been focussed on day-to-day weather recently, it’s the temperature we’ve talked about, here in Europe at any rate (‘Phew it’s too hot!’), and the lack of rain (‘Oooh, my poor garden!). I realised, only the other day, that wind has been in short supply. No summer breezes, no brisk gusts, no sudden squalls.

Then Rebecca’s Monthly Poetry Challenge dropped into my in-box. She wants us to write about wind, employing the literary device of anaphora. No, I didn’t know what that was either. You can read about it here.

I could have snuck in and offered the rhyme that my children were brought up on.

When the wind is in the east,
’tis neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind is in the north,
the skillful fisher goes not forth;
When the wind is in the south,
it blows the bait in the fishes’ mouth;
When the wind is in the west,
then ’tis at the very best.

But that would be cheating.

So here we are …

This is wind: softly susurrating.
This is wind: sweetly sighing.
This is wind: breezily billowing.
This also is wind: galloping gustily;
roaring and raging; shrieking and storming -
destructive; disastrous.
Here today.  Gone tomorrow.
This is wind.

And it turns out that wind is not after all an endangered species.  Yesterday was properly windy, for the first time in weeks.

‘People tell you all the time, poems do not have to rhyme’*

Blogging challenges

About three years ago, I joined a writing group for strict amateurs: people who have no particular aspirations to publish.  I’m still part of it.  Our facilitator, Sheila, is inspirational and fun.  I remember our very first session.  She produced a bag full of dice, faced not with numbers, but letters.  We threw the dice, and looked at the letters that landed face up. The task was to make a word that used as many of those letters as we could.  The only rule was: this word must not actually exist.  We fell to with enthusiasm.  And made a word I’ve now forgotten. Next task?  Define it.

Sheila’s full of strategies to get our creative juices flowing, and has transformed a small band of people with only pencils and notebooks in common into a creative, constructively critical and mutually supportive group.

But that’s not all.  Sheila’s the person who encouraged me to write my first poem.  Then another, and another. Here are a couple of my more recent – and seasonal – efforts.  I’m no poet, but I’ve come to enjoy practising.

In my blogging life, I’d started to follow Fake Flamenco.  It turns out that each month, Rebecca chooses a poetic form and invites us to craft a short poem on the theme she suggests.  And do you know what makes this so special?  Before she publishes our work on her blog, Rebecca translates every single one into Spanish. I really look forward to this extra dimension, as well as the chance to share poem-making with bloggers on every continent  Thank you Rebecca.  I haven’t been tagging along all that long, but this singular poetry challenge has just celebrated two creative years. All bloggers welcome!

And what serendipity! Only this week, another Rebecca, a certain Lady Budd, introduced us to the work of Colleen Chesebro, who is not only a poet, but someone who loves to share the skills of poetry making here, and runs a poetry challenge, #Tanka Tuesday.

This poetry malarkey could catch on. If we start ’em young, as the header photo suggests we do, perhaps …

The post title quotes the first two lines of An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse by Wendy Cope*

Daytime brings forth March Flowers

Blogging challenges, Poetry

Most months, I like to join in Rebecca of Flake Flamenco’s Poetry Challenge. I’m not much of a poet and don’t I know it? – but any chance to get the grey matter’s muscles toned has to be taken once you get to my advanced years.

This month, she’s asked us to write a Shadorma – a non-rhyming six line poem with a specific syllable count of  3/5/3/3/7/5. It’s alleged to have its origins in Spain, though not a soul can offer any evidence for this theory. No matter. We’ll have a go anyway. Rebecca’s asked us to focus on light and darkness. Light into darkness is the way the world is going just now, so I’m going from darkness to light.

Midwinter

days have gone at last.

Here is Spring.

Buds unfurl,

reach upwards to the sun’s rays

and lingering light.

This provides me with the perfect excuse to have a few springtime pictures of flowers doing just that – stretching their petals upwards and eagerly towards the sun. It’s probably a bit late for you to join Rebecca this month with your own poems – closing day is today. But she’ll be challenging us again next month – and if you join in, she’ll translate your poem into Spanish. This is why I do this: she translates all our words into pure poetry. I love it.

A January Haiga

Poetry, Walking

This year, no route march.

Instead I’ll wander, breathe, gaze …

Enjoy the moment.

I should explain. For some time now, I’ve joined in Rebecca of Fake Flamenco’s monthly poetry challenge. It’s a challenge indeed, especially for strict amateurs like me, because every month she invites us to try a different poetic form on the announced theme. This month, it’s a haiga. It’s new to me, and perhaps to you. Here’s what Aha Poetry says: ‘Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually meaning haiku‘.

So what you see above is my first effort, on Rebecca’s chosen theme of time, personal development and change. Many of you know that last year I challenged myself to walk every day, and get the miles in – 1500 miles to be exact. It was fun, and helped keep me fit. This year though, I don’t want to do it again. I still want to walk every day (said she, looking out at a grey and rain-sodden garden). But instead of getting my head down and pounding the tracks and pathways, I want to slow my pace and savour the moment: take pleasure in discovering the new in views that have perhaps become over-familiar in these all-but lockdown days.