lightning / through the skylight / conversation strikes

Photo by Rishab Mishra


through the skylight
conversation strikes

Tommy Knockers: Mineral Point Retreat Anthology 2011




Go ahead, click on the picture to make it bigger and more interesting. I’ll wait for you to get back.

… Back already? Here’s the deal with this poem — I wrote it last summer at the Mineral Point (Wis.) Haiku Retreat, which was an extremely stimulating and relaxing weekend (what? Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself…) spent writing and reading and talking with other poets at The Foundry Bookstore, where Gayle Bull likes to invite people over in swarms and feed them a lot and make sure they have a good time, which they always do. One night I stayed up late with some people talking. There was lightning. I rarely write haiku that are such faithful descriptions of something that actually happened. Or, you know. Metaphorically happened. (Since conversation doesn’t actually strike.) But it seemed appropriate in this case.

The anthology contains one poem each from most of the retreat attendees, and great illustrations, by local poet and artist Charlie Baker, of Tommy Knockers, who are these sort of Cornish elves who live in mines and like to wreak havoc. (Mineral Point was settled by Cornish lead miners, so this is not a non sequitur.) The haiku describe the weekend, our surroundings, our activities, our quiet impressions and our loud conversations. (Not to mention the roar of the tractor parade that went by Saturday morning. What? Does your community not have a tractor parade on a random Saturday morning in July? Obviously you don’t live in rural Wisconsin.)

I was back in Mineral Point again this weekend for a shorter but no less food-and-conversation-filled event, and picked up this newly-published book. It was good to be reminded in frigid February of that warm (in more ways than one) weekend in July. A lot has happened since then. But friends, friends are still there. And books. And poetry. And Tommy Knockers. Thanks to all of you.


4 thoughts on “Striking

  1. What a great story . . . and haiku . . . and graphic. And how wonderful to have a definition for Tommy Knockers, other than it being a title of a Stephen King book (I think?). What great fun you’ve conjured here, Melissa. I’m glad for you and wish you many more pleasant get-togethers with friends and elves and haiku poets!

  2. Had to laugh at your random tractor parade. I had one in front of me as I was trying to get to my wedding years ago, and I haven’t seen or heard of one since 🙂

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