Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20: Migrating butterflies

During my two-day visit at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference this weekend, haiku was a recurring theme. An old Bread Loaf poet friend, Peter Newton, is now writing only "short form" poetry, as well as serving as editor for the website He encouraged me to attend a craft workshop led by Patrick Donnelly on incorporating the Japanese aesthetic into one's writing, which served to further steep me in haiku and other Japanese poem forms. Then I had the good fortune to meet Jane Hirschfield, who is well known for her Japanese short poem translations and whose short work (available as an e-book only) "The Heart of Haiku" has been extremely inspiring for me. All this has hopefully reinvigorated my energy for this blog, and encouraged me to shake up my haiku somewhat by being looser with the syllabics, focusing more on content and aesthetic. From here on out, my haiku won't necessarily follow the 5-7-5 syllabic structure, though I haven't given up on that entirely!

All that said, while lying on the lawn in the sun at Bread Loaf this morning, I was struck by how many monarch butterflies were flitting about. I tried to describe to a friend how you can tell if a particular monarch is male or female (the males have a special gland visible on one of the wing stripes), but none landed close enough for me to show him this cool lepidopteran party trick.

Migrating monarchs
flitting too high
to tell male from female.

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