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Haiku - The Process

This morning I wandered by the ocean, marveling at the beauty of stone and shell, seaweed and sand.

I found a pebble which seemed to be inscribed with some kind of ancient writing. Intrigued, I picked it up, tucked into the plastic bag I keep in my backpack for just such occasions, and continued my walk, while verses for a haiku began to circulate in my mind.

By the time I had turned and retraced my steps, climbing up the slope to the rustic timber lookout, the words had found form. I sat on the slatted wooden seat and recorded a rough approximation of the haiku I would refine when I returned home.

This is one of the many joys of living by the ocean. There is so much to inspire, so much simply to enjoy, even when not in creative mode: all food for the soul.

Once I reached home, I washed the pebble carefully, decided on an arrangement for the photograph, and made a cup of tea. While I sipped, I refined the haiku, counting carefully to maintain the 5:7:5 syllable arrangement. Of course, I could use any format I pleased, but I enjoy the discipline of traditional form - it makes me think quite rigorously as I formulate each line, selecting and discarding, working to maintain flow and novelty within a euphonious whole.

When you read a haiku, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's something a poet dashed off in a few seconds without much thought. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is laborious, even while it's a labour of love. And that's why I've written this blog post: as a means not only of conveying the beauty I find in simple objects, but also of revealing the work involved in producing utter simplicity.

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