Tootin’ My Haiku Horn
Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor
Haiku. Talk about a muse. I can’t remember the last time I was this inspired. I came upon my new hobby of writing haiku poems in an unusual way. I emailed my friend, Matt Tab, with the subject line: “Today’s Dr. Seuss haiku.” I kept the email. Here it is:
Have you heard if there’s a bar gathering for Saul?
Also, the movie Paul
wasn’t that funny after all
This is not an actual haiku. I couldn’t remember what a true haiku was supposed to be about, so I researched it. According to several websites, there are traditional key points for well-written haiku. Traditional Japanese patterns have 3 lines with 17 syllables. The 5-7-5 rule. Other key elements are to use simple, direct, non-metaphorical language; capture a transitory insight or moment in time (called “satori” or the “aha moment”); and include a kigo, an image of nature that evokes a particular season (usually occurs in the 1st or 3rd line). A common thread in Japanese haiku is that nature is transient, contingent, and all things suffer.
Another popular form of Japanese poetry is senryu, a three-line unrhymed poem similar to a haiku but focusing on human nature and human experiences in an often ironic way. It’s unlike haiku in that it usually doesn’t have any references to the seasons.
Haiku is described as a “wordless poem” that’s brief and direct and an immediate experience with nature (Cor Van Den Heuvel). Haiku written in English are often shorter than 17 syllables and don’t always adhere to a 5-7-5 pattern. Did you know there’s an organization called Haiku North America?
In typical OCD fashion, I went to the library and checked out five books about haiku. From what I’ve learned, writers adopt their own style and don’t usually follow haiku rules. I enjoyed a beautiful children’s book called Today and Today. It’s illustrated to match a selection of haiku written by Japanese master, Issa.
Every time I take a walk or watch animals, I notice something to capture as a haiku. I challenge myself to write at least one haiku per day. I hope to publish a book like Today and Today as soon as I find an illustrator…and a publisher.
I’m curious. I wrote a haiku and can’t decide which version is the best. What do you think?
surrounded by grass,
no other flowers in sight –
lone white daisy
lone white daisy
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