Skip to main content

Write in the Moment

Now swept away:
our favourite beach,
your final days

A practice common to Druidry and Buddhism is living in the present moment, in each moment as it passes, knowing it will never come again, so it must be savoured… and let go… Just as the seasons come… and go... To live, we must breathe in… and out… and change with each breath.

Writing haiku (a Japanese poetic form which has been greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism) is a practice in mindfulness. The “haiku moment” is a flash of awareness that connects us with what is going on now, which we then put into words. It is a kind of word-picture that tries to express the essence of a moment: poetry distilled. There are a few rules to the form, which are treated more as guidelines by most writers (usually three lines, 5-7-5 syllables, with a “cutting word” that juxtaposes two images or ideas, drawing from the natural world).

Phillip Murrell, a judge in the British Haiku Awards 2013 - the two winners of which were announced in the British Haiku Society’s journal, Blithe Spirit, in May (my haiku above being one of them) - describes haiku as “a kind of dialogue between writer and reader; a piece in which, ideally, the reader plays some part in completing the unstated” and which “in some way stir[s] the emotions”. This is more important than adhering strictly to the form.

Personally, I find writing (and reading) haiku therapeutic. A haiku, and our response to it as a reader, can tell us as much about ourselves as it can about the writer. A good haiku needs no explanation - in fact, your interpretation, if it is meaningful to you, is as good as mine.

However, if you would like to know the inspiration for the above haiku, read on (if not, look away now): Shortly before my mother died, we took a walk along the beach at Blakeney in north Norfolk - her favourite spot since childhood. This moment, though bitter-sweet, is one of my last happy memories of our time together. Then, last December a tidal surge decimated the coastline.

Article first published in the Druid Network’s Lammas 2014 newsletter

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When the fields are brown

There is a sense of quiet settling across the once-busy fields, now shorn of their wheat, barley and rape. The flowers in the ditches are no longer as riotous or plentiful in colour and variety and the birdsong is somewhat muted.

The cereal harvest is gathered in and there is a sense in the air of that pause that comes after frenetic work to get a project completed by deadline, that moment of relief that it is now done and the opportunity to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the sense of completion. There is satisfaction in the air but also a kind of melancholy, knowing that spring has gone and summer is nearing its end, the days still have the upper hand but they are now perceptibly giving way to the nights.

But the year is not yet done with colour and fragrance and song. Still rosebay willowherb, knapweed and tufted vetch are abundant in the ditches, the set-aside is full of speedwell and scarlet pimpernel and butterflies still flit from flower to flower. But this not just a tale of…

One man and his dog - and the healing power of nature

She’s staring intently at the ground, eyes fixed, body rigid, ears up, head slightly cocked to one side, the occasional swish of her tail brushing the dust.
I’m looking back towards our small white fluffy terrier-like dog from further up the farm track, having realised she is out of sight - she’s usually well ahead of me, jumping through hedges or grass, or nose hoovering up smells along the path or verges. But not this time. Something has grabbed her attention, and held it, so I wander back slowly to have a look. She doesn’t move. I peer at the spot that seems to have her transfixed. Nothing. What is she staring at? I peer closer and there, hidden beneath the early blades of grass is a tiny, wiggling, furry red bottom poking out of a hole in the earth. It’s our first bee of the year. We both stay watching, transfixed by this miracle of nature - tiny and magnificent.


And this experience sums up the nature (excuse the pun) of the following weeks and months as I use this sudden gift of re…

Relaxing river rippling