Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haikus for peace?

As strange as it may seem -- seeing as many, if not most, of these posts have something to do with poetry -- poetry has never really been my passion. It's not that I don't like it, per se, it's just that I tend to find more meaning, and more power, in novels, essays, and short stories. The exceptions to this are epic poems (which I love) and the work of my three favorite poets: Naomi Shihab Nye, Eavan Boland, and Kohleun Seo Adamson.

That said, I've been teaching poetry in my classes this week: Paradise Lost to my seniors, Sappho's work to my 9th graders, and haiku writing to my 7th graders. And I've been struck -- no, awed -- by the power of concrete images, line breaks, and 5-syllable lines. Sweet apples turning red, silver moons setting, ambiguous clouds threatening rain.

I'm not sure what relevance this has for peace writing exactly, other than renewed faith in the power of understatement, simplicity, and the God of small things.

So I thought I'd share some haikus with you. These are Gimble's, not mine.

White has many shades.
Shadow blue, sunlit gold, grey
of approaching storm.

I burn candles and
incense. Maintain silence. Find
myself in nothing.

Sleep gently takes you,
like the lethal injection
you cannot resist.

Her breath sounds like the
whistle of distant trains bound
for lands beyond dreams.

Days grow longer like
smiles that stretch wider as one
greets a long lost friend.

Hills like cut paper
black against tissue blue skies.
Through poked holes, stars shine.

She curls around the
baby like a spiral shell
protecting its snail.

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