Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of seventeen syllables over three lines. Line one has five syllables, line two seven and line three five. Originally the traditional Japanese haiku form was based on the natural world. In the traditional form there is often a juxtaposition of two images or ideas.
Nowadays, increasingly in the West the structure may stay but the focus is not always on the natural world nor is there always a juxtaposition. It has been used to create a short concise poem about any subject.
Haiku is essentially the art of being concise and choosing exactly the right word to fit the moment, image or idea. It often creates word pictures in the reader’s mind. There is a famous haiku by the Japanese poet Basho about a frog jumping into a pond and the resulting sound. Haiku captures the moment taking a slice of the instant.
Why write haiku?
- In the true Japanese form it is an art and a science.
- It is a discipline in ‘cutting’ verbiage – each word is chosen with great care to have the most impact.
- It creates a word picture or a succinct idea.
- It has instant impact.
- It captures the present moment.
- There are endless variations on a theme.
- It creates infinite possibilities.
- It can be fun.
- It sharpens the mind.
- It increases vocabulary.
- It encourages use of the dictionary and thesaurus.
Why not write haiku!
Shadow Bird Haiku:
Sweet shadow bird sings ~
Lingering in the twilight ~
Luring colour in.
~ Sanandi-jacq –