“You Can’t Go Home Again,” #Senryu

Aishwarya, from Kitty’s Verses, picked an excellent photo for this month’s photo prompt. There is so much to write about.

I chose to write a senryu this week. Senryu are untitled, but for this challenge we use titles to keep our posts straight.

I don’t know… this photo haunted me. There with so many poetic possibilities. Finally, I settled on the old saying, “You can’t go home again.” Those railroad tracks definitely lead to the unknown.

There’s something poetic about the first time you leave home. When you return, it’s never like it was before you left. Time marches on and our perspectives change. We view life through the lens of a fool’s paradise. You know, the feeling of happiness you hold onto because you’re ignorant of the negative aspects of a situation? It’s all part of the growing up process.

“You Can’t Go Home Again,” #Senryu

a fool’s paradise
journey into the unknown
never to return

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Blog Update 8/6/2020: “Cantaloupe” #haiku

As my Sister of the Fey, Debby Gies said to me, “Oy Vey, what a week it’s been! I apologize for all the blog craziness. WordPress is working through the issues and my posts have migrated over from the business plan. I’m still missing my Pages and featured images. Anyway, we’ll muddle through and I’ll keep cleaning up my blog. It was time to update some things, anyway.

In the meantime, here is a haiku for the Poet’s Choice Challenge with a kigo which means “season word” in Japanese. Kigo are used to define the time of the year, and they are valuable in providing economy of expression. Since haiku are mostly nature related, the use of a kigo sets the theme for your poem.

leaves kissed by the sun
lazy, hazy summertime
sweet melons ripen

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

In Phoenix, and my part of the desert in northern Buckeye, we’ve had gruesome heat. For over 32 days in a row we’ve recorded temperatures at 110 degrees F. or higher, breaking most of the old records. My garden has suffered and I’ve lost several plants even though they’re connected to the drip system in my back garden. I’ll wait until this fall to replace them.

On a whim, I threw out some cantaloupe seeds a few months back. Surprise! They sprouted and grew. I hope we get a few nice melons out of the batch.

Enjoy the rest of the rest of your week. The cover reveal for my new book, Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry is almost ready! Stay tuned.

“A Season of Trees,” #haiku sequence

This haiku sequence is for dVerse (Frank Tassone is hosting) and for Tanka Tuesday using the inspirational theme quote from Sue Vincent:

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.”

Herman Hesse

I like to create haiku sequences dedicated to a theme, or to share a narrative of some sort, or to reinforce a central idea. Haiku are perfect for longer form stanza poetry.

skeleton bare trees
ebony sky silhouettes
winter's artistry
a lace of new leaves
encircles a sparrow's nest
rosy blossoms fall
silk-soft leaves of green
touch the cerulean sky
summer melodies
Autumn leaves foretell
dryad secrets faint whisper
only death brings truth

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Waterfalls, #Haiku

I’m jumping into Frank Tassone’s Haikai Poetry Challenge. This week’s rules are below:

Write the haikai poem of your choice (haiku, Senryu, haibun, Tanka, Haiga, renga, etc) that alludes to waterfall (taki).

Here’s how the challenge works:

1. write the haikai poem of your choice.
2. post the link of your post to Mister Linky.
3. pingback by posting the link to the challenge on your site.
4. read and comment on other contributors’ posts.

Image Credit: Frank J. Tassone
lofty cataract 
crystal vapor caterwauls
into mute birdsong

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

“Swift Unbridled Sea,” #haiku, & A Discussion of Using Implied Metaphors in Haiku

Sally Cronin provided this week’s image for our Photo Prompt challenge.

Today, I want to talk about using metaphors in your poetry. First, let’s discuss what a metaphor is.

The Grammarly blog explains that “a metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in such a way that it isn’t literally true, but the description helps to explain an idea or make a comparison. A metaphor states that one thing is another thing.”

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

My favorite example of this is the saying, “You’re the black sheep of the family.” Literally, we know this to not be true because humans aren’t sheep. But, in a metaphorical sense, a black sheep is someone different from the rest of their family members. So, if someone says, “metaphorically speaking” I wouldn’t take their statement for the truth, but would think of what they said as an idea of some sort.

In haiku, we do not use the words, “like or as” to show our metaphor, and we don’t use similes. We should never use a metaphor like this when writing haiku. Instead, we should use an implied metaphor.

Literary Devices.net says:

“Implied Metaphor is a literary device used in prose and poetry to compare two unlikely things, with common characteristics without mentioning one of the objects of comparison. It is implied in the texts to make imagery rich and effective and also to make subjects relatable and understandable to the readers. In this sense, it enables them to grasp the complex phenomenon discussed in the text. Moreover, the appropriate use of implied metaphor appeals to the sense of hearing and makes readers comprehend what is being communicated to them.”


So how do we use implied metaphor in our haiku? Think of it this way. We take two objects and compare and contrast them. This creates a juxtaposition, which is an understatement, since true haiku should state nothing. The meaning is always implied and left up to the reader to interpret.

Back to Sally’s photo. I looked at the image and saw metaphors everywhere. The reason we use an implied metaphor is that the meaning is personally felt and interpreted by the reader. In poetry, we want to forge that kind of connection.

Here is my untitled 5/7/5 haiku:

swift unbridled sea
breakers spill out with laughter
foam tickles my toes

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

What is the implied metaphor? If you said, breakers spill out with laughter, you’d be right. I compared the swift unbridled sea to breakers laughing as they break against the shore while the sea foam tickles my toes. In reality, waves don’t laugh, as that is a human trait. This literary technique is called personification.

I wanted to convey a sense of playfulness in this haiku. However, anyone who’s ever seen an angry sea churning away and eroding a beach during a storm knows there is nothing playful about the ocean. The sea’s destructive powers are well documented.

Examine the famous poem by Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings.” (The poem is halfway down the page).

Literary Devices.net explains

“The poem exhibits racial segregation and social discrimination prevalent against the black community in American society.  She has used two metaphors in the poem; the first metaphor is of the “free bird” that is for the white people, while the “caged bird” is the metaphor of African American people and their detention in the social norms.

Using this implied metaphor of a bird, Maya Angelou explores the ideas of freedom, equality, and justice in the text. She skilfully contrasts the freedom of the free bird and the alienation and captivity of the caged bird by using this metaphor.”

Literary Devices.net/implied-metaphor

I used this poem not to discuss social issues, but to help explain the use of metaphor in poetry.

When we use photo prompts for our poetry, we don’t want to describe what is in the photo. The photo is for our inspiration. We want our reader to infer something from our poetry they can’t see in the photo. We want to surprise them with our observations.

Experiment with your use of implied metaphors. It will help you achieve your goal of showing and not telling.

“All Forgiven in a Day,” #kindku “Dawn”

I’ve wanted to try this new poetry challenge offered by Auroras & Blossoms poetry journal in the post below. It’s the “Dawn,” Prompt, created by Cendrine & David.

Here is the link to the words in the song: https://genius.com/Leigh-nash-nervous-in-the-light-of-dawn-lyrics which serve as the inspiration for the poetry you write.

First… What Is a Kindku?

Auroras & Blossoms says:

The Kindku is an invitation to promote kindness, positivity and inspiration through poetry. As the last two letters of the name indicate, it is based on Japanese poetry forms like the haiku and tanka.”

The Rules

The Kindku is a short poem of seven lines and 43 syllables. The syllable pattern is 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 or 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5.

The Kindku must include seven words that are taken from one specific source — a poem, a book, a newspaper article, etc. In the case of a book or long piece of writing, those words must come from the same page.

Words must be used in the order they were found. Their placement also depends on the line:

  • Line 1 starts with word 1
  • Line 2 ends with word 2
  • Line 3 starts with word 3
  • Line 4 ends with word 4
  • Line 5 starts with word 5
  • Line 6 ends with word 6
  • Line 7 starts or ends with word 7

Kindku poems can have titles and punctuation. No matter the topic covered, they must sport a positive tone.

Kindku poets are encouraged to credit and link to the inspirations behind their pieces.

First, I listened to the song and then picked the seven words: “…storm grey clouds hovering above silence all…” (Nervous in the Light of Dawn lyrics)

Next I created a chart using the 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 syllable count:

  • First line: 7 syllables: start with “storm”
  • Second line: 5 syllables: end with “grey”
  • Third line: 7 syllables: start with “clouds”
  • Fourth line: 5 syllables: end with “hovering”
  • Fifth line: 7 syllables: start with “above”
  • Sixth line: 5 syllables: end with “silence”
  • Seventh line: 7 syllables: start with “all”

I use the syllable counter at How Many Syllables.com to compose my KindKu.

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

“All Forgiven in a Day,” #kindku

storm erupts with feral song
dawn shifts into grey
clouds swell like waves in the sea
pale brume hovering
above the fray, the rainbow—
redeems the silence
all forgiven in a day

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

What do you think? By participating in the challenge, they could select your poem to appear in the Aurora & Blossoms Journal. Click HERE for the prompt post.

This was a fun challenge! It really got my creative juices flowing. Try it!

“Freyja,” #Shadorma #poetry

Anita Dawes provided this week’s #SynonymsOnly poetry challenge words: blessed & hex. These are excellent opposites to work with in a longer poem featuring one or more stanzas. Unfortunately, my time was limited this week by all kinds of minor niggling issues. Yet, I still worked through the problems!

I’m happy to announce that I completed the first draft of Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry! Now it’s on to my editors.

This has been such a fulfilling experience to write about something I love so much. I believe this book will be a brilliant start for those who would love to write syllabic poetry, but feel intimidated by the rules and the counting of syllables. Most of all, I want people who don’t think they can write poetry to try the forms we work with in our challenges. Writing poetry makes us better writers!

Life with a kitten has been brilliant fun for Ron and I. My little furry beast is purring sweetly one minute and hanging from the curtains the next. Freyja is in the toddler stage now, pushing her luck and seeing how far she can get. She has her first vet appointment on Friday, which should have her mad at me for a few hours!

I immediately thought of her when I read the prompt words! I’ll be using the word fortunate, for blessed; and hocus-pocus for the word hex.

“Freyja,” #Shadorma

golden eyed
ebony beauty,
enchantressbeware the powers of a
hocus-pocus cat!

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

I composed this shadorma poem with the help of a little black cat magic!

“Stone Ghosts” – A #ButterflyCinquain

Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

“Stone Ghosts”

stone ghosts
the false idols
of a treasonous past
dedicated to slavery
tokens of white supremacy
the darkness of death waits

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Today, I heard the phrase, “stone ghosts” and felt compelled to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard). The name resonated and touched a chord deep within my soul.

We’re at the pinnacle of a great change. I feel the ripples of hope flowing like waves across the land. Taste the salt of your tears, for the stone ghosts are falling. This American carnage will be defeated.

So Mote it be!

Be Careful What You Wish For… #Double Nonet

I haven’t taken part in my own poetry challenge for a couple of weeks. I’m getting down to the nitty gritty on Word Craft ~ the Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry and I’m still hunting for a few poetry forms. So, this double nonet will serve as an example to that specific form. I might add… the only example.

Finding poetry examples for the book from your blogs opened my eyes. We all have our favorite forms that we like to write. No surprise there. Some of you have a tendency to only write one form of poetry, that’s it!

I was surprised to learn that many of you had not experimented with the other syllabic poetry forms from the challenge. I hope after last week’s successes with the haibun form that some of you will venture out and try a few more. Who knows? It might inspire you to compile a collection of your poetry into a book!

The Double Nonet

A classic nonet is a nine-line poem, with a syllable count of 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You can create this form with any number of nine-line stanzas following the original or leave it as a single verse. In my example below, I wrote two separate nine-line stanzas featuring a syllable count of 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1. However, you could create a double (reversed) nonet with a syllable count of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9, 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 syllables per line.

All Double nonet poetry needs a theme to make it cohesive. I like to leave a blank line between the stanzas, but you don’t have to. Write about the things important to you and don’t forget to use vivid descriptions.

In my piece below, in the first stanza, I write about climate change and how I imagine a scenario where the mother goddess (Gaia, or mother earth) brings rain to stop the fires ravaging the earth. While in the second stanza, I explain the consequences of too much rain.

The idea is to compare and contrast two things. There should be some kind of connection between the nonet stanzas.

You can create double haiku, double senryu, double tanka, double gogyohka, double cinquain, double etheree, and double nonet poetry. In fact, any of these forms can become longer poems by adding more stanzas, which is excellent information to know when the poetry contest you want to enter asks for longer poetry. You’ve got this!

Image by My pictures are CC0. When doing composings: from Pixabay

“Be Careful What you Wish for…”

Wind, the calming breath of the goddess
brought moisture to the thirsty earth.
Water, the life source endured
quenched the fires and flames
that stoked climate change
across our lands.
This rebirth
brings us

Storm remnants ebb into silvered mists
where sky and water join as one.
I struggle for air above
the rising ocean tides,
as shrill sea bird screams
welcome me to
a fresh day

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Thanks for reading.