Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Top Ten and A Tiny Haiku

| 22 Comments

A bee in winter
travels into the new year
finds open flower

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Happy New Year, friends! I took an online haiku class this fall through St. Mary’s Sewanee. You might want to check out their offerings for the beginning of 2022!

Here’s the way I first wrote the poem:

 

A bee in winter
travels into the new year quietly
in the pale light of January
finds the open flower

 

I’ve been thinking about the discipline of form.

But mostly I’ve been immersing myself in fiction – drinking deeply – as the year comes to an end, with gratitude that my thirst has returned.

My top recommendation for right now is “Light Perpetual” by Francis Spufford, the most beautiful book I’ve read all year. The novel begins in November of 1944 at a department store in south London. Mothers are shopping, their children in tow. But it is a time of war – of bombs falling from the sky – and a great explosion tears through the store and beyond. We begin at a historical moment and then travel into the dream-world of imagination.

We meet five children who might, instead, have lived.

We see them where they begin – as trouble-makers or pleasers, talented or troubled – and see them grow into their personalities and identities. We see them shift and stretch over time. In Spufford’s dream-vision, we yearn and suffer, grow and learn with these children who lived. We marry too early or too late or the wrong person or the right; we have children (or don’t) and love them, and fail them, and inspire them; we lose jobs and find them; we live with dark regrets and bright hopes. Through these characters’ eyes, we witness London’s transformation, as black and brown immigrants from India and Africa weave their patterns into the fabric of the city. Sorrows and troubles do tend to find them (and us). But also – life is gift. A change in the “soul’s weather” is always possible, for the imagined children and for us. “Light Perpetual” is the most radiant book I’ve read since “A Gentleman in Moscow”. 

For the remaining 9 books on the list, please see the article at StyleBlueprint.

*     *     *

May you find your flower

22 Comments

  1. I love that you started the year with a Haiku. Happy New Year to you, Sweet Friend.

  2. Happy New Year, dear Carla!! Sending love. Xoxo

  3. So lovely! I’m thrilled to be reading Bacon again! Happy New Year Jennifer! ❤️

  4. Thrilled to get this list!!! Thank you!

  5. I needed your recommendations! Happy New Year! Beauty in books and in life abounds.

  6. A quiet, sacred, hopeful haiku to start the year. Perfection!

  7. Just the list I needed right now! Thanks!

  8. Happy New Year! Love the bee in haiku! Can’t wait to read the Spufford book. Here is to lots of reading in 2022! Today will be the perfect day for it. Xoxo

  9. So glad to see the return of Bacon! I have missed you, Jennifer! And thank you for the recommendations ~ I’m so excited about Light Perpetual!

  10. The first draft of your poem really resonates with me on this annual day of optimism and looking forward, Jennifer. “Quietly in the pale light of January..”. Spectacular.

  11. How lovely to hear from you, John!! And thank you. Welcome home!! Xoxo

  12. Happy New Year Jennifer! Love the serene entrance into the new year~ with hope for spring in the not so distant future.

  13. I’m so humbled to rediscover Bacon, after a long hiatus of what seems like nothing but head down at work. How refreshing your voice is! How inspiring–and inviting–to remind us of the simplicity of a haiku. xo

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