This was the rainbow over our garden a few days ago. Strange to think what rainbows have come to symbolise. So uplifting, but tinged with sadness. I’ve seen one made of Lego in a window down my parents’ street, and one made with leaves and twigs on the Trans Pennine Trail near our house. I didn’t photograph them for fear of looking like I wasn’t taking the lockdown seriously.
I’m trying to use my unexpected amount of free time productively, which means I’ve started to edit my novel. I read in the Guardian Review the other week that agents and publishers are receiving double the number of novel submissions at the moment, so it looks like a lot of people have had the same idea. I truth, I’m not overly concerned. My goal is to complete a full draft and have a manuscript at the end of it that I can say is finished (to the best of my abilities). What I have at the moment needs a lot of work. It’s disjointed and full of inconsistencies. However, there are places where I feel the writing really takes off, so I’m heartened and keep telling myself it’s going to be worth the work. Of course, I’d have rather have had this free time under different circumstances.
I’ve written before on the importance of finishing a project, so I won’t go into that again, but needless to say the novel, at about 80,000 words, is very time-consuming. I don’t want to devote all my spare time to it. That would be another form of lockdown. So I’m trying to write poems too. And that’s what I wanted to blog about really, the beauty of a really short poem. I emailed a haiku prompt to our local writing group last week, and I’ve been writing them daily as an antidote to the novel: short, light, a way of encapsulating the moment. They’re a great way to stay grounded but still feel productive.
Brief as they are, there’s nothing easy about them. They demand focus and concentration. What I’ve also enjoyed is discovering new sites and outlets for these poem (I’m tentatively thinking about submitting some). I’m not going to list all the sites I’ve visited. People will do their own searches and follow their own interests. However, there’s some famous examples at HaikuPoetry. 100 Best Poems also has some good examples – I particularly enjoyed After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa by Robert Hass, which opens:
New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.
For Japanese season words and classical subject matter, I’ve found Renku Home useful. And if you’re totally lacking in inspiration try this Haiku Generator. It probably won’t generate a totally satisfying or finished poem, but I did find it turned up some lines and phrases that gave me a jolt, which is always good. So, be productive, capture some rainbows and make time in your day for writing.
PS Forgot to mention Dave Bonta’s video poems. I love Pennsylvania Spring.