Friday, September 8, 2017

Changing Seasons

As a big Fall enthusiast, I'm anxiously waiting for my birthday which, this year, is the first day of Fall or the Autumnal Equinox.  I've already started to enjoy posts on Facebook from some Halloween and Fall pages that I follow.  I've also been planning some Halloween things with my daughter already.

This desire for the new season has pushed me to work on editing my poems for my book of poetry project since my overall theme is nature and the seasons.  Also, I had so much fun playing with Haiku recently that I found myself re writing a longer poem as a simple Haiku.  I did this because the original poem was unfinished, I was still inspired by it, but I was stuck.

The poem began as an exercise in using descriptive language and words.  I wanted to convey the beauty of colors as they change from Summer green to Fall's reds/golds/rusts, etc.  My original was a complicated mess and, although I can still remember the exact tree that inspired it, I had lost my direction.  To move forward with the piece, I found myself focusing on the image in my memory.  I studied the shape and colors, which were in full transition, still displaying Summer while Fall was edging it's way in.

After about an hour of painful rewriting attempts, I used the "strikethrough" feature in Word and crossed out everything, leaving it on the page as a reminder of my failure, as well as a resource for words I still liked.  This is when I began reviewing my Haiku notes feeling that a u-turn was called for.

I stared at the formula, 5-7-5, total of 17 and typed "Summer."  I stared at that a while, then hit return twice and typed "Fall." I looked at that for a while then started to insert short phrases before and after these words until they formed something meaningful.

My next step was a bit more difficult, I started paring things down to match up with my Haiku formula, 5-7-5, total of 17.  I was actually starting to like this poem now.  Next I began changing out words to fit and then words that we more descriptive or telling.  Yes, I pulled out the old Thesaurus to find shorter or better words.  Finally, I had what I thought was my finished piece and read it for my daughter.  Her reaction was lukewarm.  "You've done better" she said.

So, I picked this up again today, two weeks later, and below is my final product.  I like it much better than all of it's previous incarnations.

Summer to Fall
September 8, 2017

Summers luscious greens
Answering Fall’s charming chill
Turn warm, red and gold.

The photo isn't an exact depiction of my original inspiration, however, it does give a sense of the color change that I inspired me in the first place.  I think I'm starting to get the hang of Haiku.  

Now that I've started, I have to keep the inspiration coming and work on more editing.  I don't think it's unreasonable to find new inspiration for a piece when you're editing.  Perhaps inspiration is a key ingredient in editing for me that I need to explore some more.  I'll share my results with you.  

Enjoy the new season and watch for more editing posts.  I hope you share your thoughts and/or poems with me in the comments.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I love it when people throw out a word that sounds really cool, even if it's not real, when they have something big to say and no other word fits the bill.  Ecliptedness was created by a co-worker yesterday when trying to describe how well the eclipse themed cookies depicted the many stages of eclipse the sun would experience during the event.  

Although we laughed about it at the time, today, I can see how words can come to be.  We shared this word with everyone who came into our office kitchen while we were there and they all thought it was very descriptive and appreciated the creative use of language.  This was not just due to excitement over the big event, it was true admiration.

Inspired by this new word and the eclipse itself, I have been thrown back into writing poetry because I cannot help but get these poems out of my head and onto paper.  Now, of course, I have to share them.  They are also giving me me more works to include in my book of poems because they can be included in my overall theme of nature and/or seasons.

The first poem I'll share was born of my impression of the glowing crescent Sun as a mischievous Cheshire Cat grin.

Celestial Grin

Like the Cheshire Cat,
The Sun grinned
Hiding behind the Moon
Like a frightened child hides behind her mother’s skirt
Showing only a partial face.
Take a good long look at this eclipse photo from yesterday. Now close your eyes and imagine the Cheshire Cat.  He has just been harassing you about your tardiness or drinking too much coffee, none of which is his business, and has faded from sight, leaving only his grin to further annoy you.

Disney Cheshire Cat Grin

I'm certain you can see why this image came to me yesterday while watching the Sun disappear behind the Moon.

The next poem I'm going to share features something that I never expected during the eclipse. While I knew the light would be different, I never expected shadows to be altered. Here is my poem about the Sun's nap.

Suns Summer Slumber

The Sun took a nap yesterday
K L McClune 2017
Hiding behind the Moon like a shy child
It drew a shadow blanket close under its chin

As the cover was drawn
Familiar shapes distorted
Leaf shadows transformed from round drops
To slim crescents

The golden glow of pavement
Paled against the black and gray shadows
Lifted the silvery arcs
Cradling them with soft edges

Under cover, a small Sun sliver shown
Like the glowing arc of a mischievous grin
The Sun teased us with evening at mid-day
Its warm rays cooled, it’s light diminished

Upon waking, the cover retreated, slowly
Like a curtain drawn in anticipation of a show
Golden light returned and shadows deepened,
Warmth was restored and the Sun emerged refreshed

I've written more, but I'm actually hoping that you might share how you were inspired by the eclipse and what you created as a result.  Please leave me a comment and let me know how you've been inspired to be creative by the eclipse.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Compiling a Book of Poems Post #2

Editing, editing, editing.  I've been editing poems for my book and going back over all my poems multiple times since my last post.  After I made a list of the poems I consider "Complete" I put them into categories to see what kind of material I had to work with.  From this exercise I determined that most of my "Completed" work had to do with the seasons or nature in some way.

This prompted me to look through all my work to see if I could find any other poems about nature or the seasons to bolster my book.  I added a number of unfinished poems to my list and brought my total to 63.  Of these poems, 30 are about nature or the seasons.  Most of these new poems need some editing or rewriting.  This is what I've been doing for the last week or more.

By the way, I'm by no means finished with this part of the process and am still determined to put a book together.  Now I'll be focusing on more poems with nature and the seasons as themes.  I'd like to have approximately 40 poems for this book.

In the process of editing and completing some of my poems, I've come up with some nice pieces and want to share some with you.

Autumn Gusts

Leaves dart across the ground
Like schoolboys chasing a ball
They flip and turn and spin
Like tumbling gymnasts.

Frantically, leaves fly
Like birds rising from a lake
Pushed by Autumn gusts
High into the air.

Color splashed branches dance feverishly
Like teens at a concert
Arms waving in the air
Moving in one rhythm.

I found myself practicing the use of metaphor and simile trying to get this one just right.  This next poem has a very different feel.  This rewrite about a heavy Spring snow is very different from my original, but I do like this version better.  

Spring Snow

Frozen crystals dance easily
In a dervish.

Thick, like fluff, they fall
In a wind.

Landing, they join, cling in close
Like a mantle.

Heavy, pressing down, young limbs bend
Bowing down.

Brightened, the crystals sparkle in sunlight
Dripping down.

I started this post months ago and have sadly not worked on editing poems since that time.  Life derails me sometimes which is frustrating.  Many things are happening around here.  However, I have been inspired to write about the Sun and Moon today because of the "Great American Eclipse."  

Yes, the eclipse was almost complete for those of us in the greater Denver Metro area.  I'm going to be working on a few new pieces to add to my collection for this book.  I think they'll add something special.  

So, I'll leave this post for now on the editing theme and hope that you enjoy these two re writes.  I promise to have a few new pieces for you soon that highlight the celestial bodies involved in today's spectacle.  

Have a splendid day and keep writing!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Compiling a Book of Poems: Post #1

Almost since I started writing poems in 2010, I've wanted to put together a collection or book of my poems.  Of course, you have to have enough poems written to fill a book first.  It's taken me years, but I've got almost enough really good poems to create at least a collection.

Being a methodical person who doesn't enter into things like this lightly, I've begun to research the best way to put together a book of poems for publication, whether just for me or for sale.  Thus far, I've found some very good sources.  The links are at the bottom of this post.

One important question I think a poet must ask is whether you want to publish strictly for yourself or to sell to the public.  I believe this is important, because if you are merely putting a collection together for your own enjoyment, the guidelines are more lax.  You don't have to adhere to the conventions of publishing.

With that said, I've decided that my first endeavor will be strictly for myself because I would like to have more of my individual poems published before I try to make sales.  Furthermore, I will say that, even though I'm currently undertaking this task for my own enjoyment, I do not like reinventing the wheel.  I will, therefore, be attempting to put my collection/book together using the conventions that are expected for a published work.

Let's start at the beginning.  
Reviewing your poems is the first step.  All the sources I've read, see links below, have various strategies outlined for reviewing your work to determine what will go into your book.  Of all the varied suggestions, printing out all your poems is a good first step.  While many of us have our poems saved in an electronic document, there's nothing like pen and paper for editing, sorting and labeling.

So, I've printed all the poems I feel are ready to go into a book, or that I want to go into a book.  I have just over 70.

This part is both hard and fun at the same time for me.  It's hard for me when the poem I need to edit is good as is, but I know it can be better.  In cases like this I will always preserve the original before editing a copy.  Sometimes, I end up with two poems when this happens.

Editing is fun for me because I like to look at something and try to make it better.  I recently took two of my formless poems and made them into palindromes or mirror poems.  These are poems that read the same forward and back.  When you read a mirror poem you get to the half-way point and the poem reads backwards to the first line.

Here's one that I just created by editing one of my poems:
Raindrop Patterns
October 12, 2010
By Kimberly L. McClune

Raindrop patterns
Random patterns
On the window
Pooling in the corners
Gathering on the sill
Small rivers creeping down my window
Gathering on the sill
Pooling in the corners
On the window
Random patterns
Raindrop patterns

To be honest, I'm still in the editing stage with my poems.  There are about 10 that I feel need to be gone over before I feel they're strong enough for publication or inclusion in a book or collection.  I may even try publishing a few of them individually before I finish this project.  

While I finish editing, you can take a look at the links below to read about putting together your own poetry book or collection.  These are the articles or sites I found to be the most helpful.

Next week I'll post on the next step, Sorting and Organizing Your Poems.  I'll also share another edited poem.

Enjoy the Spring for Summer is mere weeks away.

Leave me a comment so I know you were here.

Poets & Writers
Long but thoughtful post. 


Writer’s Digest

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Today I want to share Haiku with you because, in my opinion, it’s one of the lovelier forms of poetry. 

Haiku is defined by Britannica as, “unrhymed Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.” 

Here are some facts that I uncovered about Haiku.  The Haiku form was refined by Basho in the 17th Century from the hokku element of the poetic form renga, an early Japanese poem.  Renga is a linked-verse poem, a form in which two or more poets supply alternating sections of a poem.  The hokku is the initial stanza of a renga.  It sets the time of day, season and dominant features of the landscape for the renga.  The hokku did not become known as Haiku until the late 19th Century after it had been refined by masters like Basho, Buson and Issa.  (See sources below for more on the history of Haiku.)

Haiku is written in three lines and each line has a specific number of syllables, 5-7-5.  While early themes were nature, animals or the seasons, you can now write Haiku on any subject.

To write a Haiku, find inspiration in anything you like.  Take a walk, use a picture or a memory and make a few notes.  Now simply write two or three lines describing your subject.  Edit your lines by focusing on an emotion or images based on your senses; sight, taste, touch, smell or hearing.  Finally work on the syllable count, first line 5, second line 7 and third line 5.  (See sources below for more on writing Haiku.)

Below are some examples from early Japanese masters of Haiku:

None is traveling
Here along this way but I
This autumn evening

Temple bells die out
The fragrant blossoms remain
A perfect evening!


Crimson must be running
Through the trunk of
This plum tree

Born as a spider
No choice but to spin
His spider web

Now here is a Haiku I created:

Graceful deep green leaves
Teardrops shimmer in the sun
Shade the woven trunk.

This was truly joyful to create.  I have a Ficus tree sitting in front of my desk at work.  It has a beautiful, graceful woven trunk and the leaves are a lovely deep green.  This was the perfect subject for my first Haiku.  I hope you like it and that this minimal presentation on the Haiku has given you a bit of inspiration to try it for yourself.  Even if you are just inspired to go read some Haiku, I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the effort.

If you do give writing Haiku a try, please share in the comments.  I’d enjoy hearing from my readers.

Source information:
Creative Writing Now
Haiku World
Poetry Power

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nonsense Poems

It’s Poetry Month so it’s time I got off my, “I’m too busy with other things” high horse and did some writing.  If I’m going to write, it’s going to be fun because I am extremely busy, so it’s going to be nonsensical.  I enjoy writing nonsense and reading it too. 

If you’re not sure you know any nonsense poems or not sure what it is, may I direct your attention to the Jabberwocky or almost any Dr. Seuss works.  In these you will find some essential elements to a nonsense poem such as, made up words and silly story-lines.

For instance, the Jabberwocky is riddled with made up words that most can’t even figure out how to pronounce, let alone determine their meaning. 

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

As you can see in this first stanza from “The Jabberwocky” there are very few familiar to guide us.  There is some description of the location, and there appear to be creatures or things doing some sort of activity, or behaving in some fashion.  Reading more we understand that there is a creature called a Jabberwock, that a fight ensues, and it is slain.  I love how I can let my imagination take me in any direction it chooses each time I read it.

Dr. Seuss manages to use made up words and tell silly stories that can teach and entertain.  For instance, in the Lorax we have many made up names and words.  He tells us of  “Grickle-grass,”  “gruvvulous gloves,” and, of course, the “Truffula Trees.”  He weaves with language creating delicious worlds, and gently pulls us in to take part.

If you’re like me, you may not be quite clever enough to invent words or a language or even a different world for your poems.  So, I choose to write nonsense using the things around me.  Here’s a sample of a poem I wrote a number of years ago while sitting at my desk at work.  I remember I was trying to work out a problem on a file and let my mind wander to all the stuff at my desk.

Nonsense Poem
September 2011

Excellent educational teamwork brings clarity to rocking regional knots.
Spinning paper scribbles integrate quick mail monkeys s
Stacking plastic keys under tables.

Tinker Bell violence, after inspection,
Credits calendars with water trash before folders help index text.

To write poems like this you must be knowledgeable in the parts of speech and all the different ways a word can be used.  For instance, in this piece the word ‘index’ in the last line is used as a verb.  So, as I look around my desk now I can identify things whose names can be used as a noun or verb or adjective.  These are the words you can use to make this type of poem come together.  Here’s another example.

Whirlpool filters swirl around Arizona sugar
Silver magnets multiply root beer carafes
Please refill igloo hot pads.

I wrote this while standing in the kitchen of the office where I currently work.  Once again, I let my mind wander over the words and items I saw around me and put down these lines on a post-it note.

It’s silly and fun to write poems like this.  It’s also a good exercise for your brain to work out how the words for thing can be used to write out sentences. 

I challenge my readers this month to take a few moments to write or read some poetry.  Simply enjoy the words, let your mind wander over them as you read or create them.  If you write anything and would like to share, please leave me a comment.  Or, simply leave me a comment anyway.  I’d love to hear from you.