Archive for February, 2012


I originally started The Poetry Place to keep track of the poetry that came to me in my daily life — hence, the category of “The Daily Poems.” Sometimes, I have gone searching for poetry and found it, so that thread has been woven into the developing work as well. But it is still amazing to me when poetry comes to me as a gift.

In my creative writing class, we will be studying ekphrasis this week. Ekphrasis is poetry that responds to art. So how wonderful it was that one of my students from last semester, Rebecca Horn, came to give me a book that fit this theme: Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry. How extraordinary it has been to learn about the growing life-work of a young painter, poet and spiritual visionary alive and well in the 21st century.

Here is one of her vivid, emotionally aware, and spiritually instructive poems:


Love was created to create.

Children enter a meadow and play hide and seek.
They run so fast that some might cannot catch them.
It looks as if they are hunting themselves.
Life seems longer when you jump in the grass. Without the reins.

My mother plans me on her favorite flower, the clematis.
The vines of the Montes seemed to be planted in the air.
Should we grow up like that?
The petals are closing and wrinkling from my breath.
Every petal or stamen I try to hold onto just falls out.

My brother is on the edge of a flower. He slips and falls down on the dirt.
It is so foggy no one sees him. Every time he moves, it becomes more foggy.
His muddy shoes in the fog do not look so muddy after all.
His raincoat is full of hail. The hailcoat.

I gather the fallen pedals to celebrate
and planting a seed bigger than the whole garden, I water for two.

Every time I walk, the strings fall out of my pockets
and I find my grandfather’s letter beside his grave on the meadow.
On top there is a can, so every time I run over to it, he would wake up.
My grandfather’s wavering is on my finger.
It is always with me like a cast.

When I run, my eyes are closed,
and I bump into the childhood tree with a hammock full of a clematis pollen.
The hummingbirds land. They are to become the future.

That is all I remember from my dream.
I am only a child, but I remember everything I need.
Everything I know is someone. Everything I think is someone.

Love was created to create.

from Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry (2006)

About the clematis she painted when she was eight years old, which can be paired with this poem, Akiane has said this:

“…In the Japanese garden of our backyard I noticed one clematis flower that seemed to be floating in the air. The next morning I woke up from a strange dream, wrote it down on the window with a chalk and began painting the blossom. Much later I understood that the clematis flower in my dream represented love and trust…”

To learn more, visit: http://akiane.com/home

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after the ruin a butterfly
roams into my room”

Enomoto Seifu-Jo


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Haiga is a Japanese art form combining haiku, written in calligraphic script, with a painting. The painting may not be an illustration of the poem. Instead, the poem and the painting may be in juxtaposition to one another — so that their contrast may create fuller meaning.

Here is an example by Yosa Buson, an 18th century Japanese poet and painter:

“A little cuckoo
a hydrangea”

Buson greatly admired his predecessor in the art of poetry, Matsuo Basho (who made both haiku and haiga, too), and he painted a portrait in his honor.

Buson’s artwork frequently combines poetry and painting. Two years before he died, he painted “Old Pine.” Like so much of his oeuvre, this masterpiece shows his detailed attention to the beauty of Nature.

Contemporary haiga artists continue to combine poetry and image. Somtimes they create word-and-image duets in honor of past poets, as is the case in this picture, which remembers a haiku by Shushiki, a Japanese woman who wrote haiku in the Edo period in the tradition of Basho.

To view some other examples of this creative work, with original poetry and artwork by contemporary poets, visit:

See Haiku Here

Haiga Online

Daily Haiga

Women Poets of Japan

A contemporary haiga by John Hawkhead that I particulary enjoy is this:

“lying together
after the spring thunderstorm
blossom and hailstones”

I encourage you to make your own haiga!

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