Jane Reichhold

Haiku has always fascinated me as a poetic form.  Such few words, such strong images.  I write poetry, including haiku; I journal, write short stories; write for newspapers and magazines. I teach writing at university level – and yet the ability to create such clarity in two or three lines eludes me.

Is my vision not clear enough? Have I crowded my ideas with too many threads, too much that I want to say?  The words bubble and fall from my pen, leaping out of my mind onto the paper, but without the simplicity and strength that I aim for.

This seems to me to be an echo of my life.  I seek simplicity, peace and serenity. And yet I bounce from one event or group of people to another.  Finding time for meditation or solitude is hard.  My days are filled with people and ‘happenings’ – meetings, competitions, lunches, classes, friends.  I want not to lose any of these – but to stretch time so that I have more space. My days open and close so quickly.  I am afraid without more space and more time, I will look back on my life and see how quickly it also opened and closed.

If my life closes without me being able to clarify and express my vision, is it wasted?  What is the achievement I can look back on?  Family?  True – beautiful daughters living full and interesting lives – but that is their achievement.  Policies written and implemented?  These change with the changes in government.

Then comes a more interesting question.  Do I have to matter?  Do I have to leave behind a legacy?  Is it enough to have just lived a full and interesting life?  My ego says – yes, your vision is important, your voice is important.  My logic (is that my dark side??) says – no, you are one of billions, no more or less.  Your vision is one of billions, your voice is one of billions.  Why do you expect or want to have more voice or more vision expressed than others?

The flower above is wilting. Its brief life is crumpling.  The bud below it opens, showing glory for one or two days before it too disappears into nothing – into my rubbish bin.  These lovely flowers have had a small impact on my life.  I enjoyed their beauty today.  tomorrow unless I look at this image again, they will be completely forgotten. Why should I ask for more?