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“…when it comes to learning something new, cluelessness turns out to be the perfect and only place to start.” – Margaret D. McGee

It is hard to believe that only four days ago I was at Goddard living the student life, waiting to have my Study Plan approved, hanging out in the dining room with new friends and anticipating my new course of study. I have come home with a cold so spent the weekend unpacking, doing laundry and nurturing my tired body and stuffy head.

One of the books I am reading over the coming weeks is Haiku – the sacred art by Margaret D. McGee. It has been a long time since I wrote any poetry in earnest and haiku is a dear poetic art that endeavours to capture a moment in three lines. These are called “‘haiku moments’ – a moment when the mind stops and the heart moves.” Most often the lines are 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, but this form is not etched in stone, the real aim is brevity and clarity.

As a photographer, I think that haiku could be considered the photographic equivalent of poetry. Quick snapshots of a moment in time in word form. I am drawn to haiku as another way to capture a single beat of time filled with endless possibility;  a sacredness unfolding within a frame of form.

As I read McGee’s book, I am drawn to revisit the poems of my youth. I wrote a small collection between 1973 and 1974 and titled it Banana Peels & Other Assorted Trivia. For my eighteenth birthday, my parents had 50 copies printed and bound. I gave most of them away, and a few years ago, my daughter found one for sale at an online bookstore. I bought the copy back for $15 to see who was selling it. On the inside flap I had written:

November 14, 1975
Steven,
Whatever happens
I thank you.
Where ever you go
Remember this lady
as someone who has a dream.
with love, annis

As you might guess, I have no idea now who Steven was and I’m not sure what dream I speak of. What I do know is that this is not haiku! Haiku I think must capture a moment in a timeless way so when read years later, the moment is clear, the meaning not lost.

Youthful exuberance, hope and longing sprinkled the pages of my early collection and I wonder what my new efforts will yield?

4.23.74
Later on
I often question
the things I do
and
decisions I make
because
they can cause hurt
and confusion.
But because I care
and
because I worry
and
because I love you,
I take my chances
that in the end,
when we understand,
you will still
love me.

Thirty-eight years later, there are many things I could tell my young self but at the time, I captured moments that meant the world to me and it didn’t really matter whether anyone else got it. I have filled many journals and pages with writing since then but for now,  I am looking forward to getting back to poetry and brevity and capturing small miracle moments in words that will withstand the test of time.

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