Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For... - Not Haiku

For Yuri

Filling new space moves
In circles, then falls back to Earth.

For Neil

Fly a figure of eight
To the Moon
For the dust of your age.

For my son

There are no secrets.
We offered you space
And gave you nothing.

© Martin Porter 1995

This is a sequence of three poems, dating from 1995 but somehow has managed to stand the test of time and may even be more relevant now than when it was written.

The poems are not haiku, nor were they ever intended to resemble haiku. The syllable count does not correspond to the usual 5,7,5 of a modern english-language haiku and the sequence of thoughts in each line does not follow the seasonal aspect, cutting through or reconciling that is frequently found in haiku.

The sequence is built from three poems of three lines, a structure that appealed to my sense of elegance in structure. Each poem contains fifteen syllables. The poems become increasingly structured, until the last poem which consists of three lines of five syllables. This movement from relative freedom to a more restricted form was intended to convey a corresponding movement from sixties freedom, to the more restrictive eighties. The final poem reflects the sense of disappointment as the idealism of the sixties collapses into the unregulated “greed is good” era ushered in by the mid-eighties. As such there is a polemic in both the structure and presentation of subject matter, perhaps not obvious. Even if this had not been intentional (which it was), living through the passing of manned Moon missions and the resultant change in perspective and subsequent disappointment would most likely have coloured my writing at the time.

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