two poems, via Japan

Today I was in a Haiku mood, so I came up with this:

The heart is swallowed
By despair’s gravity.
The mind orbits mute.

I wasn’t in the sweetest of moods when I came up with that one, but that’s why writing is a useful cathartic experience. Even the blackest of humours is fodder for something.

Then, I considered writing a Tanka, which is a longer form of a Haiku.

I wondered if I could write a micro-fiction–with an SF feel– in Tanka form. This was the result:

Shattered, I report.
Gore vibrates off matt armour.
He listens, eyes bright
With data streams; orders.
“We remain.” I nod, aghast.

I don’t write poetry often. It’s a tough art. As much as it hurts to read bad prose, nothing compares to the damage inflicted upon the soul by awful poetry.

The above pieces are competent–if not particularly sterling–and met today’s challenge.

Writing in such a strict fashion can result in creative solutions. While it’s frustrating at the beginning, finding the word choice that clicks, and suits the form, is terribly satisfying. It’s also an instructive reminder of how you can strip language down to the gleaming bone, and still evoke powerful images.

One of my most conscious mantras that I apply to my writing all the time now is: “omit useless words.”

It’s one of the best pieces of advice a writer can remember.

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