April is the poetry month, coaxing
Odes out of the fund-cut land, upraising
Free verse and sonnet, arousing
A metered pulse despite uncivil chill.
Winter moils to hold fast, stifling
Voice by imperious squalls, periling
Spring’s sprung verse with rime-crust.
And that is why I propose we celebrate Poetry Month with increased vigor this year. It’s been a tradition at WIZ to welcome in spring with a haiku chain, a poetic community romp rooted in the mindfulness practice of tight yet sparse imagery common to the 17 syllable poetry form created by the seventeenth century Japanese poet Basho. Capturing such imagery–a snapshot, like a closeup, or perhaps a “closein”–of some natural, everyday detail requires some discipline on the part of the poet and openness on the part of the reader. And yet it’s a game just about everyone can play.
So this is how it works: I’ll start with an opening haiku, and WIZ readers are invited to create a chain on the subject of spring, interconnecting images from haiku to haiku or, alternately, introducing a new twist or turn into the chain that others can forge their own 17-syllable links for. If a gap opens, I’ll move in to fill it with another link. It goes as long as it goes, but given the current political trends toward austerity where the arts are concerned, let’s see if we can fill the world with a bit more fine language than we might otherwise find time for.
Here’s my opening link:
Spring rain: see-through buds
spin into crystal bloom, light
upon new grass, fade.
Now somebody else go. By all means, have fun. Let’s keep language free and green-growing.