Recently our local paper, The Wichita Eagle, sponsored a little contest at their website, encouraging their readers to submit "hot haiku" about their angst over dealing with summertime heat and humidity.
(For those whose grasp of poetry is as rusty as mine, haiku is a Japanese form of poetry, non-rhyming, where the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the last line has 5 syllables again. )
Last Thursday, they published 12 of the best entries they'd received so far (The Wichita Eagle, 9 August 2007, p. 3A). My favorite two were:
Yes, I do love you
But it's summer in Kansas
Please don't sit so close.
Flowers are wilting
My enthusiasm, too
Only weeds survive.
The contest idea tickled my fancy as something that I had the energy to do, despite temperatures in the upper 90s and low 100s. Since "heat" alone wasn't getting my creative energy flowing very strongly, I expanded my allowable topics to include summer in general. Here are a couple of the summertime haiku that I came up with....
Soaring vulture tilts
Side to side, searching below,
Drifting on the wind.
Shiny leaves waving
As wind rustles through the tree.
Silent shell clings tight
To twig while living locust
Sings shrilly above.
Shimmering heat waves
Ripple through the stifling air.
The grammar of the locust one still bugs me (no pun intended), but I like the image, so I included it anyway.
I had fun doing this, especially as I drove the country roads doing errands. The biggest problem was that I would find a phrase I liked, but be unable to write it down for miles until I came to the next stop sign. I tried writing against the steering wheel, but ended up honking the horn with the slightest bit of pressure. Finally I decided that it was good mental exercise to either refine the phrase I was thinking of or just commit it to memory. Who knows what literary masterpiece was lost to posterity due to a middle-aged memory!!!
Too bad the kids are all grown up - this would have been a great family road game.
Maybe my next poetic creations should be limericks.... ("There was an old dame from....")
Then again, maybe not.