Two Haiku and a Dickinson—Almost Poetry Month

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?
—Emily Dickinson

What Emily Dickinson describes here is her body responding to the sheer joy of beautiful, awe-inspiring poetry, the insightful kind that chills the body and nearly stuns the spirit. Some poems I read fill me with a trembling cold like the one Emily Dickinson describes, while others are more warming, gently clever, and amusing.

It’s been awhile since I have really read or written much poetry. Years ago, I always seemed to be composing some verse, seeking new poets, or savoring the lines of some old favorite. Since April is National Poetry Month, I’ve begun collecting other people’s poems in a brand new journal, both form and free-verse. I’m writing their poems by hand, which allows me to linger over certain words and phrases a little longer, to feel like I am in tune with them. Along with copying and reading aloud these poems, I am writing my own. It feels like slowly wading out into refreshing, chilly waters, this return to poetry.

I’d like to share three from the journal. The first is a clever spring haiku written by the haiku master, Issa:

snow melts
and the village floods
with children

The second is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Hope is The Thing with Feathers”

Hope is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

Dickinson’s poem is musical, so that the form hints at its meaning and sounds just like what she imagines hope to be. This first stanza contains such an innocent quality through its “bird” imagery, and yet she never uses the common word; she describes it instead.

The third is a recent (contemporary) haiku of mine:

spring fog—
I find the way home
by heart


 May April bring you flowers of many colors and plenty of poems! 🙂

5 responses to “Two Haiku and a Dickinson—Almost Poetry Month”

  1. Wow, that quote by Emily D. is powerful. I love it! 🙂 I didn't know April was National Poetry Month. I have been reading lots of poems by Mary Oliver lately. I am not used to reading poetry so much, but for some reason it is resonating with me in this season of life. I think your journal idea is perfect and I hope you find refreshment every day this next month as you pursue reading, writing, and reflecting upon beautiful lines of verse. 🙂


  2. These are all so beautiful, thank you for sharing them! Your journey reminds me of my own; I've not been writing as much poetry as I used to, but I've been sketching in a notebook and writing a little haiku to accompany the drawings. Oddly enough, it hasn't occurred to me to read haiku, but now I feel inspired to. 🙂


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