Haiku – Inspired by Shelly – June 12, 2014

impetuous wind
reminder of early youth
vitally free

autumn wind blowing
announcing Persephone’s descent
my wintry soul

dead wintry world
my words a prophecy call
spring will return

Yesterday on Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie, HA put up a lovely poem by Shelly.  Not knowing what to do with it, I tried to distill it and the preceeding post was the result.  Not a bad exercise actually, as it helped to understand what was going throuh Shelly’s mind when he wrote “Ode to the West Wind”.

However, that was not the challenge…the challenge was to write haiku inspired by Shelly’s poem and that flew past me completely!  Reading HA’s haiku this morning I realized my mistake and this is the response to his challenge.

Distilling Shelly – Heeding Haiku with HA – June 11, 2014

western autumn wind
mover of dead leaves and seeds
winter harbinger
brother of the rich spring wind
wild moving spirit – hear me

western autumn wind
high in the streams of steep sky
bringer of rain and lightning
your dirge mourns the dying year
through black rain and hail – hear me

mover of great seas
summer dreams quiver in waves
near Baiae’s bay
furious wavy chasms grown
they fear your voice – hear me

to be leaf – cloud – wave
or wild youth as once before
once your free equal
listen to my sore plea – I’m chained
no longer swift – tameless – proud

play my soul strings
my song, your tune of autumn
quicken my dead thoughts
scatter my words among men
spring will soon return

Shelly’s “Ode to the West Wind” is a plea by Shelly to the western wind,  harbinger of autumn to free him from the chains of his present life, which has lost its spirit and sense of free spiritedness,  in order to permit him to enjoy once again the freedom and vitality of youth.  He concludes with the hope that his poetry…his words no longer downtrodden in melancholy, will quicken mankind with his prophecy of life’s cyclical renewal.

The distillation of such a poem in haiku, though probably possible is far beyond my talent or skill.  Here I’ve simply transformed the poem, into 5 tanka to follow the original 5 stanzas of the poem.  It was written in iambic pentameter following the terza rima form for the first three lines of each stanza with a couplet at the end of the terza rima (the first and third  lines rhyme  the second line of the terza rima carries over into the couplet) . The rhyming scheme is ABA BCB CDC DED EE.

Here’s Shelly’s poem:

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave,until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!

Thou who didst waken from his summer
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menageries – Heeding Haiku with HA


Haiku – Inspired by Poetry

illusions – unrest
stories that men create to live
inside sleepless dreams

stumbling through life
lists of obligations grown
from childhood seedlings

remembrance haunts
forgetful humanity
pain and death whispers

criminal indifference
reaper of unwary victims
no one can sleep

under the empty sky
no fables or fairy tales
open your eyes



In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the
street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife-edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the
eyes of cows.

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention
of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes
are waiting,
where the bear’s teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before.

No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters.

Federico García Lorca

Written for Heeding Haiku – Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

I found this poem particularly difficult to synthesize into haiku … bitter and moving …

Heeding Haiku with HA! May 29, 2014 (Tanka)


Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,

Wouldst thou recall to my heart, papeeha,

Dreams of delight that are gone,

When swift to my side came the feet of my lover

With stars of the dusk and the dawn?

I see the soft wings of the clouds on the river,

And jewelled with raindrops the mango-leaves quiver,

And tender boughs flower on the plain…..

But what is their beauty to me, papeeha,

Beauty of blossom and shower, papeeha,

That brings not my lover again? 

Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,

Wouldst thou revive in my heart, papeeha

Grief for the joy that is gone?

I hear the bright peacock in glimmering woodlands

Cry to its mate in the dawn;

I hear the black koel’s slow, tremulous wooing,

And sweet in the gardens the calling and cooing

Of passionate bulbul and dove….

But what is their music to me, papeeha

Songs of their laughter and love, papeeha,

To me, forsaken of love?

A Love Song from the North, by Sarojini Naidu

Today, HA asked us to analize and create a tanka or haiku using this wonderful poem as inspriation.  Here is my contribution:

forelorn – forsaken
your sweet garden songs are naught
my lover now gone
my ears now closed to your song
I am now love-deaf and sad

raindrops and clouds form –
gentle rain bends the flowers
the passing river –
this beauty is lost to me
as I weep for my lost love

sweet garden music
how I loved the passion-songs
now I sit deafened
no longer they invite smiles
I’m forlorn and forsaken

G.s.k. ’14

Heeding Haiku With HA: To Derive Inspiration From Poetry # 2

Haiku – Inspiration from William Blake

William Blake : The Fly

Little fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.


Today we look at the above poem by William Blake, The Fly and inspired by HA, from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie try to recreate synthetically the poem in haiku or tanka form.

Tanka – Life

all creatures equal
as we walk upon the earth,
the fly or I live …
both living someday will die
who’s better the fly or I?

Haiku – The fly

thoughtlessly acting
when satori came showing
all life is common

no creatures better
not men nor flies – all are one
each one lives and dies


Haiku With HA – Birds May 15, 2014

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spring is in the air
the birds are all courting now
they chortle and sing
looking for material
to build their summer’s nest

blackbirds, my favorites
sing out in the early morn
but sparrows are fun
they play tag on my terrace
in their loving hide and seek

ducks squawk on the lake
swans twine necks on the water
the swallows returned
from their winter homes down south
the coo-coo’s call fills the air.

spring is in the air
bird joy fills my eyes and ears
life renews the land

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with HA

Heeding HA

This is a very interesting post and prompt.  Below I will be putting the link to the post and think it would be worth your while to take a look at it!

Prompt: “carefully analyze an emotion within you, attribute a word to it and then let it out in the nature in the form of a haiku or tanka”

in one word: anger
boiling resentment – flaring
a tempest roaring
my voice – thunder of the soul
my tears the calming rainfall

body shuddering
in the maelstrom of anger
blood pounding river
pulsing in my head – eyes veiled
katana of words flashing

upon life’s pathway
through moments of calm and storm,
from color to black and white
kaleidoscopic passion

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Heeding Haiku With HA

Heeding Haiku With Ha! May 1, 2014

I’ve tried to call upon all my muse to create a tanka or haiku which will reflect the honor that Anmol showed me this week by creating a prompt dedicated to Egyptian mythology!




through the ages, oh Ra!
you looked upon our green Earth
made the world flower
blessed the lives of your creatures
guided the wise Pharoah’s steps

yet now forgotten
throughtout the eons of time
you still shine brightly
warm is the sweet smile of Ra
ancient bestower of life

generous is he,
though no sacrifices burn
to honor his glory,
each day he gives us sun light
oh Ra, life giver of old

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with Ha!

Tanka – Young Lovers


Woodcut illustration (1919) of the young lovers from Gottfried Keller’s original story, which became Delius’s opera A Village Romeo and Juliet.

young lovers wooing
farmers plowing their spring fields
families – rivals
their surprise will come in fall
another harvest ripens

birds singing of love
new passion grows on the lawn
spring – young love blossoms

new life beginning
in fields beyond the village
many new seeds sown
conventions never stopped love
when spring is so inviting

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku With HA