Nothing Lost

In Victoria’s blog,, for Wordsmith Wednesday, she goes into some detail on the haiku, specifically on Jane Hirschfield’s book: “The Heart of Haiku.”

Being somewhat of a poetry snob, I always considered haiku something one wrote when writer’s block interrupted the writing of real poetry. A couple of months ago, during a major writing block, I began researching haiku just for something to do. I spent a day reading the works of Basho and other notable haiku writers. I also read about the philosophy behind haiku. I found it to be very beautiful, with many levels of meaning springing from that eastern philosophy.

It called to mind a phrase from the movie: “The Last Samurai” (a great movie). Kin Watanabe’s character, Katsumoto, was looking at cherry blossoms when Tom Cruise’s character, Algren, walked up. Katsumoto said, “The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”

I’m not sure that we of the Western World can ever achieve that mindset. Until we do, all we can hope for is an honest effort when writing a haiku. I no longer consider them a lesser form of poetry. They may well be the apex.

Since my research, I have only attempted one haiku. It can be seen at This is my second attempt.

Nothing Lost
by Mike Patrick

Summer sun dries out
the lotus blossom’s wet home.
It’s soul still lingers.

This entry was posted in Haiku, Nature, Poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Nothing Lost

  1. Excellent Haiku Mike, good to see your enjoying its grand simplicity. Nature and life surround in abundance, to easily be reduced into the short artform of the Haiku. I find it to be the toughest style!

  2. You know Mike, although I love the English language and of course, words. I have no real teaching about writing poetry, verse, prose or any of its given rules. When people comment to me about this stanza, or pentamic or, whatever the words are… I have no idea what it all means. None whatsoever. Although my intelligence tells me that a stanza is a paragraph or one whole part of a verse.
    Although I do know the rules of Haiku, it is a lovely way of concise writing.
    But, you know Mike in a way I’m so glad I’m not ‘trained’ …not schooled in the proper way to do this or that, because (to me) my writing doesn’t come from being structured. It comes from deep within and it is something that I even once had a vidid dream about. I hadn’t written in a few years and I felt so guilty. And in the dream a man (who told me his name and, I researched later and discovered it was the author of Brideshead revisited) well, in my dream he was so angry with me .. He said “You were given a God given gift and how dare you waste it! Whatever you do, write, write, write.” And from then onwards, I’ve written and if I haven’t written I feel such guilt, deep inside. So, I believe if I ‘study’ the art of all of the ‘hows’ the why’s the here and theres…of structure, the ‘rules’ I would lose my way amid the laws of do and don’ts and what I write would no longer be fluid…
    Although I always enjoy what you write immensely, it pains me to see how you sometimes struggle.
    I think ( you can take it as advice or ignore it) why don’t you just close your eyes, let your mind wander anywhere it will, and then focus on just one thing, and one thing alone, and see what your pen writes.
    Your Haiku is lovely by the way.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Wow, Daydreamertoo, what a great comment. So much to talk about.

      Your dream epiphany was wonderful. I wish I had gotten my writing instructions is such a direct manner.

      Believe it or not, we use a very similar path to writing. Almost everything I write starts with freewriting. It just goes where it wants to go. If I’m working off a prompt, the prompt gives a theme, the rest is from a higher power.

      Our biggest difference is in my insatiable curiosity–that and being a born researcher. When anything tickles my fancy, Google is my best friend. Your poem, “The Maid of Orléans” sent me on a half day’s research mission, not because I needed the information, but because it was interesting.

      I grew up on Shakespeare, Browning, Burns and Blake. They gave me the foundation for meter and rhyme. Since then, it comes natural; I really don’t think about it unless I’m editing a sonnet or something. That was all the poetry training I ever received. Now, whenever I come in contact with a new poetry form, I Google it. I’ll read until my curiosity is satisfied.

      Just what you wrote in this comment caused me to research both Evelyn Waugh and Brideshead Revisited. What an amazing personality to visit you in a dream. I must say, I agree with his admonishment: for God’s sake, write.

      Besides, I’ve been following your blog for some time now, and don’t see any reason why you should ever question or change your style. Every poet finds his or her voice and does their best with it. You are a good, interesting poet. I always look forward to your new postings.

      Thanks again for the comment.

  3. pmwanken says:

    You’ve done a marvelous job capturing the spirit of a haiku.

    By the way…loved that movie. And you’re right, we don’t have what their culture captures.


  4. Renee Espriu says:

    You are a gifted writer, Mike and your Haiku is filled with so much in a few words. Simply wonderful!

  5. I, too have no formal training in writing poetry. I write the words that are in my head and try and fit it into some recognozable pattern,lol.

  6. Tilly Bud says:

    Oh Mike, just beautiful.

  7. Keep ’em coming, Mike. Haiku and their tanka and senryu cousins give us a wonderful way of encapsulating big thoughts and observations in tiny, accessible parcels. Even determined non-poetry readers can be converted in this way.

  8. Mike, I do not have the temperament to create meaningful haiku, and I admit it! You captured the essence of Victoria’s lovely post, which I enjoyed immensely, even though I’m not so good at rules per se. What spills from me is reckless, sometimes has internal rhyme – but is generally visceral, sarcastic, or unabashedly sentimental. I admire your picking up the gauntlet and giving haiku another try. Also, I loved that movie as well. Watanabe was never better, and Tom Cruise did some fine work – and I’m not a Cruise fan. Thanks so much, Amy

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I believe you are very disciplined. I’ve read the lyrics to all the songs you’ve written, at least those I could find online, and I’ve heard you and your friends sing a few of them on YouTube. The internal rhyming is constant and deliberate. The humor in some of your lyrics is fantastic, bawdy maybe, but fantastic.

      By the way, I love jazz. Humm, better modify that, I love most jazz; I don’t care for scat. I know you say no one should scat unless they are really good at it. I don’t care for it, no matter who is doing it.

      You have the perfect jazz voice, and the music that shaped that voice is some of the best in the world. My jazz horizon isn’t as large as yours. Several of the names you worked with or opened for, were new to me, and I really don’t have any jazz collection (though I’d love to spend a few weeks listening to yours). One doesn’t hear much Billie Holiday on the local stations around St. Louis. One of the local college stations played all classical music except for an attorney (of all things) who played three wonderful hours of jazz on one night of the week. The station was recently sold, and I lost my primary jazz link.

      • I sent you and email on this – do you have ITunes? Loads of stations there, don’t forget!!

        What you said about my voice is the ultimate compliment, Mike. The songs did shape it, because grew up on them, also grew up among some great musicians, and my mom was a professional singer, so she encouraged me a lot, as did a wonderful teacher, Jack Martin, who actually taught jazz in high school. Imagine – funding for jazz in the public schools!

        Thanks again for all this, Mike. Amy

  9. Mike says:

    I’ve just found your haiku Mike and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Coincidentally my copy of Jane Hirschfield’s ‘The Heart of Haiku’ arrived today via Amazon. I’ve not tried much haiku but am fascinated with the whole subject.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      If you study the history of the form, it becomes so much more meaningful and beautiful. You should give it a try. I’d love to see what that convoluted mind of yours would produce.

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