The Garden of Six Principles of Poetry

Soon I will be in Japan! I look forward to the sensations and inspiration travel brings. Since I was a girl, I was curious about Japan, mainly because of the shape of the country, and the small islands.

I usually research my destinations before I travel. Not only does it help me plan, but I have some background knowledge to help understand the people and culture. Learning all that I can is important to me because I will know what to say and do. Although, I reserve all expectations!

I found out that in Tokyo there is a garden called Rikugien, which means Garden of the Six Principles of Waka , meaning ‘Japanese Poem’. Waka is a type of poetry in Japanese Literature which has six elements.

The most widely-composed type of Waka throughout history is Tanka. After googling it, I found this definition:

‘The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification. There are five lines in a Tanka poem.

Tanka poems are written about nature, seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions. This form of poetry dates back almost 1200 years ago.‘ An example can be found here.

Furthermore, I was interested to read about the ‘poetic culture’.

In ancient times, it was a custom between two writers to exchange waka instead of letters in prose. In particular, it was common between lovers. Reflecting this custom, five of the twenty volumes of the Kokin Wakashū gathered waka for love.

In the Heian period the lovers would exchange waka in the morning when lovers met at the woman’s home. Read more on Wiki here.

The park was built between 1695 and 1702 with permission by the fifth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty of Japan. After his death, the park was neglected and was restored again in 1878. According to what I read, it’s a place of ‘scenic beauty’.

I would like to take some time to enjoy the gardens, and perhaps sense the poetry of the place.

I read that there are a number of dramatic bridges and a leaf viewing forest in the garden, one of which was inspired by a Waka poem..

‘One if the bridges, Togetsukyo was inspired by a Waka poem about the moon moving across the sky as a crane cries in a nearby rice paddy.

The bridge is made up of two large stone slabs that are laid parallel to each other. Read more on the tour here.’

Before my research on the garden, it was unclear whether it was built based on the forms of waka or if the garden influenced the forms of poetry. I read on to find out that famous waka poems were the source of much of the design of the garden’s landscapes and features. It’s incredible to know that poetry can be the source for recreating such beauty.

It seems that Japan is a great source of inspiration for writers! I may also go on a day trip to Kamakura, a city that a writer friend recommended.

I’m told that it attracted a huge number of writers and Japanese creatives in the past, and that many literary figures have made it their home.

My friend tells me there are hills, forests, temples, shrines and beach. It’s also close to a small island, sitting off the main coastline, Enoshima, connected by a short bridge. I will also go to Horishima, and spend one night there. It’s terrifying to read about World War II and the atom bombing (1939–1945). To read more click here.

There was once a garden on the Berger Strasse, a street in Frankfurt where I once lived, which was an inspiration for my poetry. It was when I started to write and publish so abundantly. The words flowed so freely and easily. There was no right or wrong, no rules, just enjoying the surroundings as I wrote. Much like a witness to beauty, with a camera to take photos. As I took the photos, it felt like I was seeing for the first time, like I was focusing in more on the details, enhancing the beauty of the object.

Looking back, I think that the contract between the walk there, the shops, cafes, and people, and the tranquility of the garden, was what moved me to write.

Upon my return from my trip to Japan, I might post some photos of my travels.

Have you been to Japan? As always, I look forward to your comments.

signature Maria Grujicic Poems That Dance

Copyright © Maria Grujicic and, from February 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Maria Grujicic and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Smiling Kisses

Hi Everyone!
A few days ago I created this video for fun. I love creating and video is such a great way to get a message across. My creations are more than stories and pictures, they are concepts that encompass emotions and thought. A sophistication that reveals a story through imagery.

My philosophy stems from my belief that children are more intelligent that we might expect. They see with different eyes, and this is why I love working with them.

Enjoy, and as always please like my posts and leave a message to show your appreciation. :)

Maria Grujicic (Malena)


Still Posting


Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

Hi Everyone!

I’m writing to let you know that I’m still active on my blog. It’s been a hectic year with lots happening so I haven’t found the head space to create as much as I used to. Soon I’ll have 6 weeks of holidays to use up for all the things I enjoy doing. Have you ever found yourself in that place?

Although I’ve been productive in other ways by editing a novel I’ve written for many years now. I followed some advice from a friend and changed it from third person to first person. This has allowed me to see a different perspective in the character and develop my writing. What’s even better is when I change it back again to third person, then back to first person in the editing process.

I know this sounds tedious, but I’d rather do the editing myself because I don’t want to lose my voice. Plus I could develop the characters and storyline through editing. So this has given me a whole new outlook on editing; it’s not about doing a spell check and correcting grammar. In fact, I see it as the most important part of writing so I need to do it myself. And best of all, it’s most effective when done bit by bit, refreshing my mind daily before I continue again.

So like a fish gulping air out of water from time to time, I used my crazy tight schedule to my advantage.

Interestingly, included a storyteller who tells some parts in third person. The third person disappears through the story as the main character becomes more and more independent, reflecting her growth as she finds her own voice. There’s something special about the relationship of these two storytellers. They set the tone for the underlying theme of relationship building in the story.

It’s wonderful to experiment in this way in a novel. Some might say it’s wrong but this doesn’t stop me because I want to create a different genre. It’s definitely a story with a mix between fiction and real events. The best way to describe it is that it’s like a very long prose that develops its character, coming alive within the boundaries of a storyline.

Such is life.

The wonderful part is that I’m growing as a writer and a person, as I learn about myself. I write more simply and let the words do the talking. I’m not only finding my style but creating it. I’m off now to do the daily things life demands, then looking forward to editing more of my chapter.

If you’d like to read more of my poems go to Fastpencil Self-Publishing Company, IU eMagazine and recently to début in the Page & Spine Literary Magazine.  My more recent poems haven’t been published yet, but I’m looking forward to that soon!

Most importantly, thank you for following my blog and for all your likes and comments. Tell me how your writing’s going? Blogging is such a great way to get inspiration from each other and am so lucky to be making like-minded friends.

Have a great Sunday!

No Voice

I have no voice
But I love to dance.
I’m a mute.
But I love to dance
I cannot do.

But I love to dance.
I don’t belong
But I love to dance.
The answer is dance,
I must dance.

I’ve tried many things
But I always turn to dance.
Every day I dance.
I think and sense dance.

Dance refreshes my mind
When I feel nulled
I turn to dance!
I was made to dance.

I remember to breathe and then I dance.
My life is a dance.
I’m soothed, I’m real

I am dance.

Random thoughts after an intense 5 weeks of avoiding my passion.
Not because I wanted to, but because circumstances forced me to.
I forced myself to.
And I was given a wake up call.
My innocent mind failed me once more.
But kindness of heart prevailed.
I cannot stop what I love.
I don’t fit in that box they tried to place me in.
I squirm.
Now I know the reality of love and I can return to my artist self.
I cannot escape my artist self.

Now the hardest part is waiting,
But I am relaxed because I know.
I love
I sing
I dance!


 So many thoughts are running through a mind. But the truth never hides.

Graffiti STREET Art Paris Photographed by Maria Grujicic Street Art Photographed by Maria Grujicic Paris Paris Paris Street art tographed by Maria Grujicic DSC_0260 DSC_0261 DSC_0262 DSC_0263

Impressions of Europe & My Art

My ideals are challenged, I’m not the mature person I thought I was. I’m in Europe. I ponder on a place where I can be alone, but not lonely. I put myself in that place. But it doesn’t quite work.

I seek approval upon every stage of my life. I reject notions of my inadequacy, regroup and fight for another day. I’m in Europe, the mirror that plays with my self concept and my image. How have I grown after being away for a whole year, my friend?

I search back on my art, my past up until now and I see that I did well not to rush too much. I did a lot and I see the products of these but now I am very different. Imagine if I’d rushed, I would see more of these flaws that represent stages of growth. I would laugh at myself then curl up and die. But no, I created just enough to represent myself at a given space of time.

Art is like an anecdote of an expression in a given time. If I do it, I can look back on it perhaps and wonder who it was that did it.. like it wasn’t the person I am now.

If I didn’t do it, it is like losing this part of myself that once was. One must if they are an artist, there is no why. And now I juggle this thought as I write, wondering who I am and who I will become, what will I be thinking when I read back on this piece of writing.

I’ve often stated that travel gives me a sense of perspective. But this is only valid for the present time. The future will forget because of its irrelevance and will then make up some other story, and I would have forgotten all that I did. But the feelings will stay strong and I will yearn to have these again. I will want to return again. And my anguish when I can’t, will then become the inspiration for my writing, my art, the way I see the world. It is the part of Europe I take with me, and it becomes a part of me. But this is false, Europe is my friend.

I have written a novel and I continuously go back to it and change it, but it doesn’t work. This is my anecdote in a particular place in time. The time I was in Europe. It’s hard to write about a lifetime, and I did it in the best way I knew how. I wrote it like a dance, reflected in a piece of writing that is much like a poem, that jumps from moment to moment without one realizing, and expresses emotions and not compact events.

I think about whether anyone would want to read it, and cringe at the thought. It’s not really for an audience. I don’t think they’d get it or perhaps they’d be bored by it, think it outdated. Who knows. But I want it to be available, just so that this part of me, is preserved because it was so beautiful. I can hear the words in my mind.

My past writing is like a mirror I don’t want to look into at first but when I do, I am pleasantly surprised. I can’t imagine doing it all again. It would be impossible, and it wouldn’t be the same. And how wonderful to look into it and play!

Colour My Ball Picture Book Preview!

What colour is your ball?
Is it a blue, is it a brown?

Is it yellow? Is it red?
Is it a mix of both?

How it is that you feel?
What feelings do the colours represent to you?

Green could be frightened, blue could be brave!
Yellow could be happy and orange could give you a frown!

All emotions and colours are beautiful.
are beautiful.

The book includes blank pages you can draw on! Take a look at the preview here.

If you know the password, enter it on the official Poems That Dance page and it will take you to the full version video telling. The password is the last word on the last page of the book.
Also check on my Facebook Page.

Come and join me on Facebook. I love to chat about writing, art and creating, philosophy and life!

There’s a game that goes with this book and I’ll be posting it soon!

Keep on dancing!

Soul Friends

I danced like no one was watching
I sang like no one was there
I watched like I was penetrating
a soul
I rewrote the words again
And again
but they remained the same
in my head

Shocked I returned to a familiar place
All I expected was gone
Upon visits I didn’t realize
Upon settlement I knew
Knowledge maimed
The predictable rhythm of life
I smiled
And found you

I want to look beautiful
The day I die
Become lost and find myself
Mix with my fellow people
& dance the traditions
of life
I used to play music often
As I danced to it
I imagined my past belonging to it
The image created love for my soul
I was free
A soul friend
Once found
Will always be

She will dance with you
Like no one’s watching
& sing like no one’s there
I watched as she penetrated my soul
I smiled for a glimpse of a moment in time
& ultimately discovered
She was me

Maria Grujicic copyright 2012

This is a poem about finding myself, the real me.

I often have to remind myself that writing is a solitary act. This is what I found the most difficult because sometimes I lack the time, which affects my discipline to write. People around me are doing lots of fun things. They hang out with their friends, go out, and so on. I start to feel that I’m missing out, but I need the solidarity to write my poems.

I’ve had to battle with myself about writing because I sometimes think maybe this is selfish, self-centered. But when I force myself to do anything else, it doesn’t work out. I have a hunger to write.

I idiotically keep a notebook and pen, in fact lots of pens, in my bag. Out popped all the different kinds of pens from my bag I took from people and forgot to return, just yesterday. You know the scenario.. LOLz I needed that pen.

And so perhaps I was born to write, perhaps not, I don’t want to dwell on that riddle. What I do know is that I love to do it, and no matter what anyone thinks of my work, it will never stop me, because it is who I am. And I discovered that finding myself is the greatest gift I can have, and only I can give this to me.