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Sunday, April 5, 2015


Post copyright by Doris McCraw

For those who may not know, April is National Poetry Month, and believe it or not, I do write poetry. Admittedly mine is specialized. I write haiku, which in its standard form is seventeen syllables composed of five on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third, usually with a reference to nature and in the original Japanese a drawing. I add my photographs to mine.It started as a writing practice and I now have over 800 that I have posted on my blog: They are not cowboy or maybe even Western, but every photo I use, which I take myself, is from the West.

 Issa's portrait drawn by Muramatsu Shunpo 1772-1858 (Issa Memorial Hall,Shinano, Nagano, Japan)

There are many wonderful women poets. Many know of Emily Dickinson and Helen (Hunt) Jackson, who were friends and grew up in the same area. There is also Anne Bradstreet and Christina Rosetti. Of the four mentioned, Helen lived in the West and some of her work is about the West. But what about contemporary women poets who write about the West. I love Jane Ambrose Morton and Laurie Wagner Buyer. If you haven't read these two ladies, you are doing yourself a disservice. Their work is very readable, while giving you a glimpse of what it is like to live in the West. I think Jane's "In This Land of Little Rain" is a wonderful look at ranching on the high Colorado plains. Here is a link to some of her work:

Laurie Wagner Buyer's early work "Glass-Eyed Paint in the Rain" is beautiful and heart wrenching, in my opinion. If you are interested in work of either of these ladies, a Google search will give you more than I can cover in this post.

And since this month is about poetry, I've committed to writing a poem a day during the month of April. Now before you think I'm crazy, I write a poem a day five days a week, so I just add another couple of days a week.

Helen (Hunt) Jackson- Poet,Novelist,Essayist and Indian Rights Activist

I will leave you with a couple of poems. First is Helen (Hunt) Jackson:


WITH sails full set, the ship her anchor weighs.
Strange names shine out beneath her figure head.
What glad farewells with eager eyes are said!
What cheer for him who goes, and him who stays!
Fair skies, rich lands, new homes, and untried days 
Some go to seek: the rest but wait instead,
Watching the way wherein their comrades led,
Until the next stanch ship her flag doth raise.
Who knows what myriad colonies there are
Of fairest fields, and rich, undreamed-of gains 
Thick planted in the distant shining plains
Which we call sky because they lie so far?
Oh, write of me, not “Died in bitter pains,”

 But “Emigrated to another star!”  

And yes I will share one of mine. 

Defining the West (a five part haiku)

Defining Western
Journeying toward an end
Sunset of our lives

Traveling westward
Moving ahead of the sun
Toward all things new

Early pathfinder
Paved way for all who followed
Seeding a new growth

Men riding horses
Women and children also
Mythology tales

Mountain barriers
Endless prairie and hardship
Overcoming all

As writers we all have something to say. We work at our craft to express the thoughts we have and want others to understand. We may do it in essays, non-fiction biographies and fiction. Some may even try poetry. I would encourage you to try it. After all, its not always what you say, but how you say it. Until next month, happy writing, ready and enjoy Spring.


  1. I am not a poet. But I have written a few silly "poems." Haiku befuddles me...when trying to write it. Cannot do it. But I have a good friend--Linda Swift--who writes poetry and some is Haiku. So, that's how I know about that. I am impressed. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. Celia, Thank you. I believe some people have a bent toward different types of writing. Even as a child I loved poetry, but having said that, I do constantly work to keep it fresh and the best it can be.
      Congratulations to Linda, I hope that poetry continues to give joy to her and her readers. Doris

  2. Doris, I love that poem by Helen Hunt Jackson! I've never read it before, but I can say now it has become an instant favorite of mine. Your Haiku is really wonderful. I remember in school when we studied poetry, that was one of the forms the teachers wanted us to all try. It's harder than it looks!

    Here's wishing you a very Happy Easter!

    1. Cheryl, isn't it the most amazing poem? On her headstone is written the word 'Emgravit' as per her request. Whenever I see it, I always think of the poem. It also reminds me of people who are settting out on an adventure, especially those heading into the unknown.

      As you know, I love haiku, and enjoy writing it. Believe it or not, I find it soothing to compose thoughts in those seventeen syllables. Wonder what that says about me?

      Wishing you a Happy Easter also and an amazing rest of the year.

  3. Doris,

    I'm a poetry reader, and I have several favorites I've memorized. Probably my favorite poem is by Theodore Roethke--My Papa's Waltz.

    I'm not a writer of poetry, because they all seem to morph into limericks. *grin*

    Robert Frost said: “A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a homesickness or a love sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

    1. Kaye, I also love Frost, but am not familiar with My Papa's Waltz. I shall find and read it. I've loved poetry since I was a child, and wrote it back then, but in my adult life I found haiku and fell in love with it.

      Thank you for stopping by and letting me know of another poem to read. Doris

    2. That's one of my favorites, too, Kaye.

  4. Sorry I'm late Doris, but I'm with family for Easter. Loved Glass Eyed Paint in the Rain! Thank you for introducing me to some New poets. Your Haiku is beautiful, so glad I stopped by.

  5. Sorry I'm late Doris, but I'm with family for Easter. Loved Glass Eyed Paint in the Rain! Thank you for introducing me to some New poets. Your Haiku is beautiful, so glad I stopped by.

    1. Kirsten, 'Glass Eyed Paint', is to me so telling. I'm glad to find someone else who likes it.
      I also thank you for your kind words about my work, and happy to share some of my favorite poets with others. Happy Easter, belatedly and a beautiful productive spring. Doris

  6. Yikes! I'm late! Haiku is like the high tech. of poetry. I wrote one years ago in creative writing class in college. Wouldn't say it was stellar, for certain. I think it takes a particular skill to write it that I do not possess. Your poetry is beautiful, Doris.

    1. Sarah, my thoughts were that people would be late or just miss this post due to Easter and that is fine. I'm thrilled you stopped by. I also thank you for the kind words about my poetry. I love writing haiku and use it as a writing practice to get my seat in the chair and be productive. Doris

  7. Lovely poems, Doris! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kristy, you are welome. I have always loved poetry and when I add the West, well, I guess you could say it's heaven for me. Thank you for stopping by. Doris

  8. Doris, I'm also late and apologize. I enjoyed reading your Haiku. I'd never heard of it before last yr. when a lady who was a grand supporter of our local animal shelter died and the fm. wanted bought a brick to be added to our brick memory path with a haiku inscription on it as she was a poet of haiku. I found it fascinating then--wish I could remember it to tell you--and now I have enjoyed yours and I thank you for reintroducing me to it--I now understand it a bit more. You are one talented lady.

    1. Beverly,
      Thank you for your kind words. Haiku is my poetry form of choice and I've been working on my haiku obituary. (Not as morbid as it sounds and a good exercise).

      If you see her brick again, I would love it if you sent it to me. Doris

    2. Will do Doris. When the snow is all off the brick pathway I'll go out and find it and send you the inscription.

    3. Thank you Beverly. I love reading the work of other poets. Doris