Sunday, September 04, 2016

8 small stones

Recently, I took part in the "Awake August 2016" challenge at Writing Our Way Home. The aim is to write a small stone a day for the month of August.

So what is a "small stone"? First introduced by Buddhist priests Satya and Kaspa a few years back, a "small stone" is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. [italics taken from their blog, you can read more of it here].

Usually, a small stone is very short. It can be a haiku, a monostitch, or just a sentence. Of course it can be much longer verses if you want it. There are no strict rules as to form, but often it should be concrete and specific, about ordinary things.

So I have completed the whole challenge and have selected 8 of my favourite small stones to showcase here.
If you want to see the whole nine yards, you can click here to go to my other blog. :)

8 small stones

Day #7

Day #8

Day #14

Day #16

Day #17

Day #20

Day #27

Day #31

So what do you think, guys? Can each be called a haiga? The drawings were done with free online sketch tools, Sketchpad 4.0 and Pencilmadness, and completed with editing tool Paint Shop Pro. I wanted to select only 5, but I could not resist adding 3 more. Click on the picture for a larger image.

And here is a small stone by me that made it into an anthology, pay attention : a river of stones.


another morning -

strands of hair
in the washbasin.


Shared on Poetry Pantry #318 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Jae Rose said...

I think these stones form a wonderful story - each could stand alone superbly but together they are real magic

04 September, 2016 21:37  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

very them all...

04 September, 2016 21:46  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Jae!
you must have read the whole nine yards, the 31 of them! it was fun, and sobering, writing them. take for example day #17. it was an actual snapshot of foreign workers sitting down on the floor having their lunch at my workplace.

04 September, 2016 21:49  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Sumana! :)

04 September, 2016 21:52  
Blogger Joon said...

Oh my gosh; these are awesome!!!

04 September, 2016 22:09  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Joon!
thanks for the visit! :)

04 September, 2016 23:46  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

I enjoyed all of these. I admire poets who can convey much in a few words and lines, as you do so well.

05 September, 2016 00:16  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness, this is amazing!! ❤💜

05 September, 2016 01:05  
Blogger Julian said...

day 27, clever. Really enjoyed these, I've not come accross stones before. Very enjoyable read

05 September, 2016 01:50  
Blogger Mary said...

Excellent! Each one is a gem. Your illustrations are excellent - as spare as the poems, but as brilliant!

05 September, 2016 01:55  
Blogger Myrna R. said...

I love what you've done. Not just the words, but the illustrations are marvelous. I must do this myself. You have inspired me. Thank you!

05 September, 2016 02:42  
Blogger brudberg said...

I think these are all stunning... I so admire both the artistic way you have made them and the content... each an image and still my mind want to create a story around them

05 September, 2016 03:11  
Blogger Susan said...

I really love the hairs in the waste basin! A=d the drawings paired with your words. How neat that the drawings are yours too! Wow! And I enjoyed all the sweat and bird calls.

05 September, 2016 05:57  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love them. And the drawings are to die for. I'll be getting those apps! Off to read the whole lot now. :)

05 September, 2016 15:25  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh, didn't answer your question. Haiga (as of course you know) are haiku with pictures (not mere illustrations but combined as one whole work of art. You've got the pictures! And you have incorporated the words into them. But are theuy haiku? I think most are. They are contemporary English-language haiuku, which include one-line haiku, and may be written verticalluy rarther han horizontally, and don't depend on syllable count. You even seem to have an 'American sentence' in there, which counts too. I'm not sure about the last one, though. I think it's more of an aphorism (and a very good one). I also, of course, don't know about the one that's not in English! Please may we have a translation?

05 September, 2016 15:32  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh yes of course, now I got Day #27. :) I adore them all. My very favourite is Day #19. Some of the ones at the other blog are more like senryu but would still count as haiga, I think. Maybe you could publish a chapbook of them all?

05 September, 2016 15:40  
Blogger Old Egg said...

What better pastime is there but to write poetry to touch the hearts of others. It is always is always good to achieve this as you have done here.

05 September, 2016 19:18  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you! i like to be economical! but seriously, i like shorter verses. maybe it's the attention span (or rather the short length of it)?
and short verese may be harder to write than longer ones. :)


thank you! :)


ha! you managed to 'decipher' Day #27?
i have been trying small stones for sometime now, and yes, it can be enjoyable to read and write.


i think i have outdone myself this time. i really enjoyed doing the illustrations. i treated this challenge as a project, a daily post with a picture and a haiku. it's very hard for me to do a daily post. :)


thank you! glad to have inspired you.
go ahead and play with the sketch tools i mentioned, they are quite intutive to use. :)


i am so glad you want to create a story around them. since they are 'small stones', i set out to create a picture of a stone, pebble, rock or aggregates, to go with the words. looks like it's a good combination. :)


thank you!
the 'hairs in the basin' haiku is small stone i wrote on a previous challenge. i submitted a few when the editors asked for submissions. :)


you flattered me! :)

you won't be disappointed with those apps. and it's good to have a picture editing tool like GIMP or Photoshop to touch it up.

thank you for the analysis of the small stones.
i asked because i am not too sure if they can be qualified as haiga. as you have mentioned, the picture and the words are combined as a whole piece of art in a haiga. usually, the picture is a photo or a water colour work.
but just imagine, if the photo is a picture of a rock in a corner of the photo (as in my illustrations), then won't my one be qualified as a haiga? :)

i have an American Sentence in there too? And your favourite 'Day #19' is not even in my list! i really like the drawing on the last one, it can be any of the 3 things i mentioned, and yes, it's more of an aphorism
i think i got a lot of people stumped on 'Day #27'. if you have seen them trying to 'catch them all', you will know i am right! it's crazy over here. :D

i am not too sure if i am ready for a chapbook (unsure of the acceptance or demand over here). Anyway, i may change my mind! :)

thank you so much!

05 September, 2016 20:16  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Robin, your comment came in while i was typing the replies to the others.
thank you for the kind comment. yes, what better pastime is there but to write poetry that touches the hearts of others? :)

05 September, 2016 20:30  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Next time I flatter you, I'll try not to do it with quite so many typos, lol. Seriously, I never flatter; they are really gems.

Yes, I think the placement of the words in relation to the drawings makes them haiga. If in doubt, put a border around them!

Day #17 is an American sentence (17 syllables).

I live in a small rural town, which so far (thankfully!) seems to be Pokemon-free.

05 September, 2016 21:19  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


a lot of thought went into the placement of the words (and also the choice of fonts and their sizes). whether in a horizontal or vertical format, how many lines & spaces, and line breaks. yeah, pretty fussy. :)
putting a border around it would certainly define the space (a good suggestion in this case)but i am not a fan of borders for this type of digital art.
i went back to 'Day #17' to count the syllables, and how appropriate it is!
i think if your town is in google maps, one should be able to play Pokemon GO. :)

05 September, 2016 23:10  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

That was awesome... both what you wrote and the style/form narrative. [And your drawings... only coming to some understanding of the "stone" did they make sense]
I may dip into more of this, thank you my friend.

06 September, 2016 03:37  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

i think i did pretty well this time. but the sketch tools were great.
don't be afraid to get wet, my friend. go forth and find some small stones! :)

06 September, 2016 17:45  
Blogger Wendy Bourke said...

This is fascinating. I do a bit of sketching (extremely naive sketching) - along with photography - with my poetry, and you have totally got my attention. I'll probably check out the software when I find the time (September has been nuts ... and we're only six days in - ha!)

07 September, 2016 10:47  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

even 'naive' sketching can be very beautiful! yes, you can try out the software, it should not disappoint. :)

August was a busy month for me, workwise, and it's amazing i can complete the challenge without skipping a day. this month looks set to be busy too. i guess i can manage the time better than i thought.

07 September, 2016 20:22  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

I think they are wonderful. Numbers 8 and 31 will stay with me for a while...

07 September, 2016 21:31  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Magaly!
No.8 was inspired by a visit to a hospital
No.31 by the last day of our Chinese Ghost Month. :)

07 September, 2016 22:56  

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