The reaction to my most recent haiku – the most ‘likes’ on any post of mine since I began blogging some 16 months ago – has really inspired me to stop and try to express my thoughts in 17 syllables more often. Of course, over the months I’ve learned that there are many other formats for a haiku, but the rigid discipline of 5-7-5 really appeals to me. In some ways this has similarities to the discipline of writing headlines and advertising copy – part of my professional activity for over 50 years – conveying a thought in very few words. I’ve also learned the importance of that change of thought in the last five syllables.

It all began with a box of photos and a regular blogger of haiku who has since, sadly, disappeared – fivereflections. At the time I came across his haiku below I was sorting through photographs found in a box at my recently deceased mother’s home. Here it is:

from the old locked box
photographs you left behind
my eyes become yours

I found a photograph of a Coronation street party in 1953, and felt ‘my eyes become yours’ – I saw through my mother’s eyes – as the photo showed myself and siblings together with neighbouring children in a play I wrote – it wasn’t my first piece of fiction but it was my first play … and my last.

Picture haiku

The 5-7-5 pattern appealed to me and I constructed a ‘haiku’ with just pictures from the box, though I did feel obliged to pen some lines with it.

However, having a passion for photography, some of my own photographs, and eventually those of others, prompted a haiku as soon as I saw them.

Then it occurred to me that maybe a picture and a haiku could be conceived together, the words and the envisaged image being formed in the mind at the same time. A walk in a church graveyard inspired two.

The ‘rowan tree’ haiku was like this: the tree immediately formed as a picture and haiku together in my mind. However, there was something missing and I had to go back with a camera later to realise what had been missing – sun.

Looking back through my ‘haiku’ posts I thought it would be a good idea to put them all under a ‘haiku’ menu heading, so that is what I have done, but … wait for it …

… I discovered that the rowan tree was the seventeenth haiku I had published, the first from ‘fivereflections’, followed by sixteen of my own.

Green satiated

Winter songsters’ sanguine store

Shiver prophesy

Rowan tree in berry

I haven’t been motivated to try a haiku for some time. As often happens, a ‘like’ – on my previous post – took me to a new world. Not geographically – Marsden village is bounded by scenery as beautiful as anywhere in Yorkshire though not as well known as the dales in which I live, so I have visited and walked there often. David Coldwell’s ‘like’ took me to The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society. And motivation.

Witches   tread with care

Beware our bouquet    spiky

Healthy human food

A black and white picture of wild garlic

Wild garlic in the Washburn Valley, June, Yorkshire

Photo on Olympus OM4, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Ilford PanF Plus 50, stand-developed RO9

madness frozen out

bones interred together        warmed

peace       buds in waiting

Early morning view from my sitting room window: the clock tower of the once notorious Victorian "lunatic asylum" at Menston, now luxury flats. Over 2,000 bodies of former inmates are buried close by

Early morning view from my sitting room window: the clock tower – about 1/2 mile away – of the once notorious Victorian “lunatic asylum” at Menston, now luxury flats. Over 2,000 bodies of former inmates are buried, together, close by

A deep thought minute

click     to     click                   is time enough

the wind raged sea             calmed

I haven’t published a haiku, I haven’t written a haiku, for some time.

What I have found is that, for me, composing a haiku requires a certain state of mind, a calm which has been missing from the recent hustle and bussle in my life, mainly catching up on some work projects which had slipped. But there has also been the attempt to get back into film photography, some of the hassles and frustrations of which I’ve been documenting on my other blog, grumpytykepix. And then there are some aspects of everyday life in the present-day UK.

The work catch-up is almost complete. I have finally accepted that getting back into film is not going to be a easy as I thought. And the irritation of so many things imposed upon us, mainly by politicians and the mass media, is being resolved by writing about them (even though my promised ‘grump’ on this blog is, as yet, only in draft).

I’ve been fascinated by a picture published some time ago on one of my favourite photo blogs, ‘Shimmering Grains’. It showed what seemed to be a calm, almost ethereal, scene of the sea. In fact, it was taken during a gale but the sea has been calmed by a long time exposure. A perfect illustration of the oft mis-voiced ‘quote’ – “As tyme hem hurt, a tyme doth hem cure”, Chaucer; or “Time is the healer of all necessary evils”, Menander.

The picture above is a screen grab; the original picture is at:

http://shimmeringgrains.com/2012/10/23/long-exposures-by-the-sea/

But if you find beautiful photographs of things natural therapeutic, I’d recommend following this Swedish photographer’s blog.

Chirruping crickets

All else mute   they look to dawn

Winter waits    restore

Biscuits cut from sky

Baking in the summer sun

Heaven gives     look up

Alt for American audience:

Cookies cut from sky

Baking in the summer sun

Heaven gives    look up

These shapes immediately brought to mind the tiny ‘biscuits’ which are a part of any celebration in the part of Romania I know well – the northern part. In many different shapes – crescents, stars, cones and many others – they are known as ‘fursecuri’, which I cannot translate but can pronounce: foor-sec-oorr. The only picture I could find of them is:

Earth to earth   to dust

Twist   scream  turn    yet now return

Games in the graveyard

.

……………….

Grass is greener     where?

Bare footed     treading    careless

Leaving litter here

.

_ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _

I said in a post or two ago that I wanted to try to create both picture and haiku together rather than a picture prompting a haiku. Walking through a local churchyard this morning I had the first opportunity. The sandals were not placed there for the picture – I discovered them just as they are pictured. The haiku were not complete when I took the pictures but the idea was there. I worked on them a little once I saw the pictures on the screen.

Both pictures taken on a Panasonic GF1. I’d have preferred black and white film for the first but then I wouldn’t have been able to post it today.

My photo package for Romania has changed a bit since I posted the debate with myself a few days ago. The change was mostly prompted by two almost incredible bits of luck. I was hoping for one of the 100 £1millions on Euromillions on Friday evening and I did win – £2.68! More about the bigger luck at a later date, now I must finish packing.

As those of you who read my 1 July post will know, my recent attempt (first for a few decades) at ‘street photography’ ended in disaster but, inspired by 

http://lustandrum.wordpress.com

I’m determined to use an imminent trip to Romania (which I know to be a photographer’s dream for almost any genre) to have another go. What is more, away from distractions of work and other things in the UK, I’m aiming to wander further down the path of ‘picture haiku’, trying to create haiku and picture at the same time. I’ll aim to post regularly from Romania though I won’t have the opportunity to develop film so I’ll be using the Lumix for that.

I was excited to receive seven B&W 35mm cassettes in the post yesterday morning. If I could have found my reloadable cassettes (buried in the mounds from a house move a year ago) I’d have loaded up from an unopened 50m reel of Agfa APX. As it is, I bought two rolls of Rollei Retro 400S, which I believe is an equivalent, and five rolls of Kodak 400 Tmax.

For the ‘street photography’ the B&W will go in my Bessa-T, most often fitted with a 35mm Voigtlander Color Skopar. I wish I had a longer lens for some ‘studied’ portraits – there are some wonderful character faces in Romania. (But see below for why I’ve inserted the picture above).

Persuaded by Marie in Sweden to take some of my discontinued Astia

http://shimmeringgrains.com/2012/07/07/softly-whispering-with-fuji-astia-rap-100f/

I’m asking myself whether I can carry another film camera for colour. It needs to be as small and light as possible but the Bessa is my only working rangefinder so it’ll have to be an SLR. I’m wishing I’d kept my long gone Olympus OM. But the Contax 139 isn’t so big. If I take that I’m tempted to pack a Zeiss 50mm Planar, either the 1.7 or 1.4, and the Yashica 55mm f2.8 macro and an extension to give me 1:1 (in fact a bit more as I don’t have a 27mm tube, I have a 32mm one).

I’ll be taking the Lumix GF1 anyway and, with 4/3 to C/Y adapter, can use the Zeiss and the Yashica on that, though it will usually have the Pani 14-42 zoom on for snap shots.

Having gone through all that, I just took a break from writing this to look for the Yashica right-angle finder in case I do take the SLR and macro lens. And I came across the Olympus XA, not used for two years as it seemed to have jammed. I knew it had a film inside which had come adrift from a reloadable cassette so, seeing the dark bag also, decided to take the naked film out.

Wonder! The XA is now working. (You may deduce that I sometimes write in ‘real time’, as I did while doing the post on fast food – now a page under the ‘Food’ menu).

Complete rethink. B&W in the XA; with its discrete small size and 35mm Zuiko lens it’s just the job for ‘street photography’. The light seals seem a bit sticky but, with one week to go till I leave, there’s time to renew them.

Now, shall I forget the macro and just take the Bessa, adding one of the only longer rangefinder lenses I have which will work on the Bessa, a Russian 50mm f2 Jupiter or a 52mm f2.8 Fed? The collapsible Industar lenses (which look like the Leitz) will not go to infinity. I can put a cheap C41 film through with the Jupiter and three Feds I have, developed locally in 1 hr, and see how they are. I’ll do the same with the XA to try to ensure it really is working now.

It’s tempting to leave the heavier stuff at home; we’re off to Cornwall in Lofty, the VW camper, for the rest of August when we get back on the 12th. He won’t mind the extra weight and the beach might offer some good macro opportunities.I might change my mind about it all before I leave next Saturday. Any suggestions gratefully received.

soul guide   hand taken

serene work    on graceful curves

symbol stories writ

I haven’t yet settled down to attempt an edit on my first short story of a couple of days ago. It seems to me that to edit is much more difficult than to write first time. Is that generally so?

The idea comes, it pours out onto the keyboard. And there it is.

I tinker with the words. The idea secretes itself among the mocking letters. I turn them over but the idea stubbornly plays hide and seek.

But which idea? There were many (and many more as yet unwritten).

To hell with it; I’ll write a haiku around one of them. 

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