Sometimes I Also Write Poetry

An elegy, a sonnet and four haiku

J.P. Williams
3 min readDec 28, 2023
Photo by author.

I don’t think of myself as a poet. Yet the smattering of music reviews and other musings that are my work on Medium contains a handful of short poems that I hope aren’t awful. They take almost no time to read, so take a few moments to check them out, drop me a comment, and — if you write poetry yourself — leave me a link to one of your favorite poems that you’ve written.

My first poem on Medium came out of a time of intense suffering in which I reevaluated myself, the world and my place in it. It’s a haiku, a form originally from Japan that often refers to nature and has a 5–7–5 syllabic structure in English. This one incorporates my interest in Norse mythology:

The same period of reflection gave rise to the following brief essay on myth and the existence of God, headed by another haiku:

My next poem was similarly personal. I wrote “Closing under golden promises” after a visit to a friend’s grave, reminiscence upon our friendship, and recollection of the circumstances of his death. Personal to a fault, the hybrid of free and structured poetry is likely to be largely incomprehensible to anyone but me, but if the cut-up method used by lyricists and poets such as David Bowie and William S. Burroughs can result in meaningful combinations of words, then perhaps this too will strike readers in unexpected ways:

I tend, however, to believe that poetry should have a rhyme scheme and meter. All apologies to Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams and Sylvia Plath, whose work I admire nonetheless, but my favorite poets were masters of traditional forms: William Shakespeare, John Donne, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” for example, is a sonnet. Wanting to try my hand at the form, I wrote the following rumination on Mt. Fuji, time and cultural roots:

Haiku is a lot easier. Whenever I can, I go on my balcony as the sun sets to meditate upon the cityscape and Mt. Fuji in the distance. That’s often when a few lines of verse begin to emerge. Here’s another haiku on Japan’s most famous of peaks:

The fourth of my haiku on Medium was born of tippling within sight of Mt. Fuji, but the mountain makes no appearance in its lines. Instead, it returns to Norse mythology, specifically Odin’s companions the ravens Huginn and Muninn, to address pain, death and hope:

Many thanks to Morning Musings Magazine, edited by Alison McBain and Alan O'Hashi, Views from Behind the Lens, for publishing two of the above poems. For more poetry, check out the publication’s poetry page. I also recommend reading Renée Elizabeth Winfield, whose poetry is much more imaginative and fun than my own and is often accompanied by the poet’s own illustrations. Is poetry dead? As a cultural force, probably. But as a personally meaningful art for writers and readers? Not at all.

Note: I wrote this for Medium.com. If you are reading this on another platform, it has been pirated. I quit the Medium Partner Program, so I’m not doing this for money. It is nice, however, to know someone’s reading, so please clap or comment to let me know somebody’s out there. Gladius adhuc lucet.

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J.P. Williams

I usually write about the intersection of arts and ideas. Right now, mostly lighter, shorter pieces on whatever I feel like.