violets velvet the grey
As you can see from the pictures below, my friend The Dune Mouse (Cybele Moon), who blogs at The Runes of the Gatekeeper’s Daughter, is a super-talented photographer. In fact she’s the queen of magical images, as well as the weaver of wondrous mythological tales.
To my delight, she agreed to select three of her creations for me to respond to with Japanese-style 31-syllable tanka poems. This is a great honour, so I hope to have done the pictures justice; it’s very much my interpretation, and they might mean something completely different to Cybele.
Storm clouds muddy dawn;
make an omelette of sunrise.
A hilltop tombstone…
Full of life, the girl races
to read her own epitaph.
Peacock perched in shade,
mere hint of iridescence
in his silhouette.
He belongs to a proud earl,
who nicks feathers for his hat.
In the dark forest,
fraught birds exchange alarm calls…
A perfect day for walking;
how beautiful the birdsong.
To read more poems in this style, enter the word “Tanka” into Search on my blog’s sidebar
https://sarahpotterwrites.com/2017/01/25/an-interview-with-poet-sarah-potter/ (all about Japanese poetic forms)
For those of you who want to know more about Japanese poetic forms, do read my guest post on Bill Holland’s wonderful blog. Whilst there, perhaps you might like to have a go penning a Japanese-style poem of your own in “comments”.
Well, I always feel bad for the poets out there, because I feel like you get the short end of the stick on my blog. Truth is I know next to nothing about poetry, so I figure it’s better that I just stay quiet about it rather than embarrass myself.
But today you poets are in for a surprise. I have an expert in the figurative house, and her name is Sarah Potter, and she has agreed to discuss Japanese Poetic Forms with you today.
Let it never be said that I don’t care about all of you.
And now, here’s Sarah!
Sarah Potter “Waning” Lyrical About Japanese Poetic Forms
Thank you so much, Bill, for inviting me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I’m both excited and a bit daunted, as this is the first time a fellow blogger has asked me to write…
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THE POETRY COLLECTION AS DESCRIBED BY CHRISTY
Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.
Christy Birmingham has written her poetry collection Versions of The Self from the first-person viewpoint because it’s about her personal journey. At first I found the constant use of the word “I” off-putting, but my initial reaction fast metamorphosed into feeling privileged, as a reader, to share in Christy’s honest account of putting herself back together, having had a relationship with someone who did his best to destroy her.
She tells of her deep love for this man and his gradual undermining of her confidence through mind-games and abuse, before leaving her for another woman. The form of manipulation she describes him inflicting upon her, is an archetypical use of what psychologists call “gaslighting”, in which the perpetrator’s tactics of manipulation ultimately cause the victim to no longer trust her own judgment. In fact, Christy does have a BA in Psychology and it’s possible that her area of study has retrospectively contributed towards her ability to express in words her traumatic experience.
What follows is an account of a woman lying in fragments, who must somehow learn to see herself as a whole person again and think herself worthy of love, or able to trust another to give of her love to him. It makes incredibly emotive reading, as she makes a detailed examination of the fragments, draws them together, starts to trust her own judgment, and rediscovers joy. It’s a redefining of her as a person, as she comes to accept that she cannot undo her experiences or lose the memory of them, but she can learn to move on beyond them and be a valid human being, with so much to give to the world. In fact, what I loved about Christy’s account was that not for a moment did she wallow in self-pity. Often, I wanted to give her a big hug and say “you are so, so brave. Go for it, gal!”
This poetry collection makes such an emotive read and would speak volumes to people who have or still are experiencing what Christy describes. I loved the way the writing flowed along in free verse with such forward momentum, occasionally pausing on its journey for detailed contemplation of a tiny detail. Christy has such a unique way of organising words and a fresh way of describing exactly what she means, but from a lateral slant.
A highly recommended read.
Connect with Christy at her wonderful blog Poetic Parfait.
And on social media…