Poem Revisited #1: Process (Jan, 2007)

If you visited here on Wednesday, you might remember that I wrote a little sonnet about writing which lies hidden in the depths of an old laptop, and whether it’s better to leave it untouched or to go back for a revisit. Well, in the interest of full disclosure I can share here that I took the second option and went back to some old writing for a revisit.

What stood out for me is the haibun that I’m sharing here. It was written to document what was an ordinary day for me at the time ~ a day as an aspiring poet and blogger, and mother to two primary school aged sons. Even as I was writing, I vaguely wondered what the point of the exercise was. It was just my everyday life and of little interest in its ordinariness. But on revisiting this little piece, I am so grateful (as the mother of a 14 and 19 year old now) that I wrote through the fear that I was boring, and documented that morning in it’s simplicity. Although those days had their struggles and lows, revisiting this poem brings me right into the sweetness and immediacy of a long ago walk to school with those little boys, who are now young men.

I’ll never be able to relive the honey of their childhood days in any other way than reading these words. This reminds me of one more joy of life as a writer. I can cherish the ordinary, knowing that one say it will seem anything but that.


The way we were(!)

Process (A Haibun)

Today was such a cold morning, fingers numb even under my burgundy gloves, breathing frost at the children, warming my hands under theirs. The eldest telling me he knows rhymes for orange (syringe, cringe, fringe) but that purple proves more difficult (we settle for half rhymes chirping, turtle, hurdle). The littlest is happiest singing nonsense rhymes of his first name, gets cross when we try to make choices that make sense. He wants true rhymes, semantics are less important to his poetic sensibility.

We select the words

closest to meaning: he sings

the sounds that ring free.

We are walking together, quickly, quickly down the hill and its frosty flagstones. There is never much time in the mornings – today my hair is still wavy and full of spray from yesterday, scraped into a bunch, my fringe bouncing to a curl at the front (cringe?), my eyes peeping out under a single layer of mascara.

Today the ritual

of a respectable face

is beyond me.

All the time we are walking, talking together, I am thinking of the contents of my ruby red shopper – the camera and the i-pod. Today on the way back from school, when my little hand warmers are tucked up safely in the stifling heat of their classrooms, I will be abandoned to walk the streets back home alone. And even when I walk in the company of the children, delighting in their inquisition, and their silliness, and the beauty of their faces that makes me ache, something in me is anticipating that impending moment I will walk from the school gates alone, my heart soaring to be alone again, in its natural state.

Under winter trees

I learned to love, and found

how to be alone.

With a casual wave from my eldest boy, in his oversized insulated gloves (how I’d love to kiss him – but it is forbidden in the presence of his peers) and then a flurry of tiny cold kisses on my lips from my littlest, we have said goodbye, and I stand leaning against the wall of the school building, waiting for the door to shut, rooting in my bag for my i-pod, unknotting its wires as I catch a last glimpse of olive green coat. As I stride towards the gates, alone in a playground full of mothers who will not be writing haiku today, I ask the question ‘What does this year hold for me?’ and press the shuffle button. It is as good a way as divining as any other. It is all in the interpretation, the four songs – past, present, future, outcome – the Apple tarot.

Searching for life’s answers

divining at a shuffle –

songs full of my heart.

Today the songs seem to tell me that things will be the same, that what I search for is already here, in the things I refuse to accept because I am always searching outside of myself. The sky is huge and a beautiful ice blue, the colour of husband’s eyes, and I cannot remember the last time my face felt so cold. My feet hit the greying pavement over and over and their movement keeps them warm. My gloved hands twiddle in the pockets of my coat no way for them to get so warm, no smaller hands to hide unconvincingly behind now. At the end of my street I reach into my bag, shedding those insubstantial gloves, to find my camera, to take a picture of the road signs ‘Follow the diversions’, just in front and under a small whirl of blue and white arrows (raising a smile) ‘Humps for 600 yards ahead’. But the batteries to my camera are flat, and the spares too. Everything has a reason but for now I try not to divine.

Answers are hard work

now that I’m suspecting

the question was wrong.

Poets United

Poetry Pantry #272

If you’d like updates on my blog and snippets of inspiration about the writing life, then follow my Facebook page. It would be great to meet you over there!


33 thoughts on “Poem Revisited #1: Process (Jan, 2007)

  1. Claire, I absolutely love this. and completely relate to it, I am in the same point in life. That sweetness is so delicious. Love the halibun, today the ritual of a respectable face is beyond me…so true for me on so many mornings!! Thank you for the joy and lovely slice of life


    • It is so lovely to hear how you enjoyed this ~ thanks for taking the time to share your words with me . Here’s to the occasional days when we manage the respectable face 😉 x


  2. Oh, that was such a treat to read, and I can well imagine how sweet for you to relive the memories.


  3. This is so beautiful Claire. How wonderful to have gone back and discovered the wisdom of your past, the richness of days you thought routine. I so much enjoyed reading this and appreciate what a competent, talented writer you are.


  4. Lovely and meaningful haibun. As Bjorn says, join us at d’Verse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday. It is held once a month. This Monday will be a prompted haibun and I have a feeling ou would enjoy it.


  5. What a beautiful journey here with you…I loved the opening as you rhyme with your boys…what a delight…each haibun building on the next. This one had me singing in joyful wonder…

    ‘We select the words

    closest to meaning: he sings

    the sounds that ring free.’


  6. Wow, just WOW. I’m glad this was waiting for you to rediscover. You might publish–intro and all. I love the warming of hands in the little ones, the kisses and the leaning on the wall til the last glimpse of coat disappears. How much more alone when the camera isn’t your companion! Such balanced joy–with the children and alone. And this: “As I stride towards the gates, alone in a playground full of mothers who will not be writing haiku today, I ask the question ‘What does this year hold for me? . . . the Apple Tarot!”


  7. I so enjoyed this look back at those years when your boys were young. This is the great blessing of being a writer, that we leave a trail, writing our way through the years, that we can go back and revisit. And that one day, perhaps, our loved ones might follow,as they dip into our poems to remember (and perhaps rediscover) who we truly were.


  8. “what I search for is already here, in the things I refuse to accept because I am always searching outside of myself.”…this IS the solution to all the problems of life…what a treasure is hidden within us…peace, joy, kingdom of heaven, whatever name you call it….a beautifully reflective piece…


  9. Sometimes finding the right answers means asking the right questions. And sometimes what one seeks is right in one’s midst. I enjoyed the reflectiveness of your writing today, Claire.


  10. And what a wonderful process and tender piece of writing – life is all about the little things…maybe words are like ruby gloves if we click them three times we can go back there in some way


  11. Oh, this is lovely ❤
    Each set holds strong on its own.. I loved this one the most:

    Under winter trees
    I learned to love, and found
    how to be alone.

    Beautifully executed 🙂
    Lots of love,


Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s