Sometimes I draw pictures to get inspiration for a poem. Others, the poem comes first. This was one of those.
A companion piece (or sequel?) to “Dead Dragon”
By Michelle Garren Flye
There’s a tiger in my heart
Pacing and guarding,
Keeping me safe.
He banished the dragon—
The one you abandoned
And left to its fate.
I love my tiger.
His growl seems to say,
You got this, little one,
I’m here to the end.
You got this, you’re strong
And you know it now.
And I do know it, because—
(You want to know why?)
Not everyone can hold
A tiger in her heart.
I completed 100 Warm Days of Haiku on July 31, 2021. It wasn’t what I started it out to be. If you remember, back in April, I started out full of hope and happiness. I wanted to write something cheerful to bring hope and happiness to the world in a time of darkness.
Well, best laid plans may never be realized. This summer has been a dark, cold one for me. The darkest and coldest I have ever experienced. Some would say I am lucky that this is so. I probably am. I am well and alive. The people I love are well and alive. And yet.
So my beautiful book is not what I wanted it to be. It became a sort of journal of my grief and loss. Haiku is not an easy form. Easy enough to write the correct number of syllables, not so easy to make them have meaning. I believe my life experience this summer gave an unexpected depth to the simple 17-syllable format of each poem.
And there is hope there, too. I am an irrepressible, inveterate, persistent optimist, so of course there is hope. A tiny blossom perhaps, but hope nonetheless, blooming in the weeds of lonely sorrow.
And now I am off to the editing and formatting stages of bookmaking. I’m hoping to have this one out by the beginning to middle of September. But I have my work cut out for me.
You know that old adage about not making plans? My summer has been that adage over and over again. I’m living it. Starting on June 1, 2021, my life took a hard turn toward…something. I’m not quite certain what, but it definitely isn’t what I had planned for my summer. (Long walks on the beach, family time, maybe even a vacation for a change.)
Nevertheless, plans for my first full-color book of haiku are still progressing. I’m in the 80s now. And while my warm days have often felt cold, I’m finding plenty of inspiration in what life has chosen to throw my way.
So that’s something.
Today I started thinking about covers. I came up with this one. It seems to suit the book, which will have a definite feel of both beauty and loss. I’m hoping to end it on a positive note, however. Because I’m a positive person and it will take more than this…whatever it is…to keep me down.
Summer. Warm days lazing by the pool, long walks on the beach, spending lots of time with friends and having fun.
If you’re having that kind of summer, I really envy you.
On the bright side, I am making progress on 100 Warm Days of Haiku. I am up to the 70s now in spite of life’s many interruptions. Thank God haiku is only 17 syllables long as that seems to be about the length of time I have to write now.
So don’t give up on me. I’ll regain my equilibrium eventually and hopefully venture back into romance or children’s books or maybe just a longer poem. But for the moment, I shall soldier on with my haiku.
At least it’s illustrated!
As we return to normal, I’m seeing lots of signs of people forgetting. It’s human nature, of course, to want to forget pain and sorrow and fear. Part of our makeup as a species. But I had big hopes we could come through this more together than ever. That’s the poet in me, always wanting to be optimistic even when reality nips my heels like an annoying chihuahua.
Anyway, this poem has been on here before, but never like this. It’s in my book of illustrated poetry UnSong, also.
I haven’t shared anything here in a while because I’m working hard on 100 Warm Days of Haiku. And my daughter thinks I share too much of my books before they’re published. She’s not wrong. It’s a delicate balance sharing enough to intrigue you but not enough to make it not worth your while to buy the book when it comes out. However, today is my 26th wedding anniversary and I just drew a very romantic haiku. 🙂 So I thought I’d share it. Here, for your reading and viewing pleasure, is Haiku 52, which will be in my upcoming poetry book, !00 Warm Days of Haiku.
Has it really been more than a week since I posted an illustrated haiku? Trust me, I haven’t been idle. I’m working hard to get out my next illustrated poetry book 100 Warm Days of Haiku by fall. Which basically means I need to keep pace with what I did in April. Today I’m slowing down a little, but I have one ready for Mother’s Day, anyway.
This one is for the mothers. All the mothers. The mothers like me who were lucky enough to go the traditional route. The mothers of fur babies. The male mothers. The single mothers. The childless mothers. The adopted mothers. The old mothers, the new mothers, the tired mothers, the sad mothers, the happy mothers, the proud mothers, the I-don’t-know-why-I-did-this mothers, the will-this-ever-end mothers (yes…and no), the confused mothers (all of us), the grandmothers, the unexpected mothers, the I’m-supposed-to-be-an-aunt mothers… All the mothers.
My heart is with you all. Because we all know what it is to love someone else more than ourselves.
We shouldn’t be so damn hard on ourselves, but those precious lives we take on our souls are a burden we willingly bear—and often worry we didn’t bear well enough.
For you, mothers.
Today is usually both a relief and a sad day for me because I love National Poetry Month. 🙂 In case you couldn’t tell. I enjoy challenging myself by writing a poem a day. I love reading others’ poetry, and this month I took it a step further and invited local poets to submit recordings of themselves reading one of their poems, which I then posted on my store’s social media.
It’s a been a good month.
If you’ve enjoyed my illustrated haiku, thank you. They’ve been a great deal of fun to come up with. I’m planning to continue through the summer (though not posting them online, sorry) and at the end I hope to have something I can be proud enough of to publish with the title “100 Warm Days of Haiku”. This one will be different since I’m getting more confident with my use of color. It’ll still be pretty cheap as a Kindle book, but the physical book may be a bit more expensive since I’d like to publish it in color this time.
In the meantime, please consider giving my first collection of illustrated poetry, “UnSong”, a try. It’s available online today. I don’t have physical copies in my store yet because I worked on it right up til the deadline to make sure it was something I could be proud of (and I am).
So here it goes. I’m releasing UnSong on the world. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.