Greetings from... New York! After 10+ incredible years in the Bay Area, the flow of life has taken me to Brooklyn. As crisp golden leaves gently land on the sidewalks, I’m sipping on a hot mug of dark oolong tea and settling into Williamsburg. No matter what’s next, I *know* deep down that this next chapter is here for now.
“Golden leaves on concrete sidewalks”: this phrase so perfectly captures this transition. I especially love the textures it paints (the crisp, delicate leaves; the solid, grey concrete) and the juxtaposition between the natural and the man-made.
As an opening to a poem, the phrase can end in different ways, each evoking a different emotional state. A fitting resolution came to me this morning. So, here it is, hot off the press!
This poem is inspired by the work of Japanese poet Basho. While Rumi and Mary Oliver are perennial favorites on social media, Basho is an underrated gem.
He writes in haiban, a combination of haiku and prose, to describe both an outer journey and an inner one. As I'm honing my own creative voice, it's good to know I'm not alone! He sometimes sticks to the strict rules of the poem, while other times breaks them. Simply re-ordering the same lines of a poem can totally change its meaning.
I found his work through the creative retreat in Japan I participated in, between SF and NYC. Japanese calligraphy exercises are often in the form of his poems. This style of poetry is a natural extension of my copywriting work. Word counts (and sometimes character counts) are powerful creative constraints.
Basho's poetry is meant to be savored slowly. Read it. Think about it. See how it makes you feel. So, I invite you to do the same with my poem today. Enjoy! :)