A few of you have messaged me asking for a quick little refresher on the art of haiku.
I think we might need to be Japanese to truly understand and embody the form, but here are the basics on the English variation:
1. Three lines, often (but not always) of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables again. The syllabics rule is a strictly Western one, but I like to use it to give me some defined parameters to work within. Some people just prefer to think of haiku as "breath-length," which is lovely, too.
2. The use of a kigo, or seasonal reference -- or some awareness of the natural world.
3. The use of a kireji, or cutting word, or a turning point or juxtaposition or a-ha moment. This often happens at the end of the first line or the second line and, in English, this is also where we may employ punctuation -- a colon or semicolon or an em dash, for example.
4. Each line usually stands alone as a complete thought or grammatical phrase, rather than flowing over into the next line.
If you love the idea of the brevity and shape, but don't want to write about cherry blossoms for a month, you can write some haiku and some senryu, which is a very similar form emphasizing human nature and relationships.
And, all that said, for me, a month of haiku isn't so much about precise alignment with these "rules", but rather a practiced attentiveness and ritual. If you choose to join me, either one day this month or 30, I encourage you to use the guidelines that work for you -- that make this experience accessible and meaningful and right...
And now, without further babble, today's poem:
cat and cardinal
stock-still stare-down til cat wins
back to nonchalance
Liz In Ink
- April 2 - Haiku 2