Thursday, April 03, 2008

The third day of the poetry challenge has proven truly challenging - as well as educational. We are supposed to write a haiku. Now I thought that would be easy. I've known the rules (5-7-5) about haikus since seventh grade. Right? Wrong.

The first poem I wrote, just flowed instantly out of my fingers this morning, I really love. It is meaningful to me - says something I really feel right now.

Daughters grow like trees.
Hard winters challenge deep roots.
I pray they will thrive.


But it isn't a hiaku.

I was just reading about hiaku on the April poetry site and learned it isn't supposed to have similies or metaphors - so daughters like trees doesn't fit the form.

Here's what Robert Brewster http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/ wrote:

If you're not big on researching the haiku, here's a quick primer on what constitutes a haiku:
1. It's a 3-line poem.

2. While many think the lines should be 5-7-5 syllables, that's actually not true. It's 5-7-5 "sounds" if you're writing in Japanese. For English purposes, it tends to be a shorter 1st and 3rd line--with a slightly longer 2nd line.

3. The haiku describes nature--with an emphasis on description. Haiku do not rhyme or use metaphors and/or similes.

4. Haiku includes a word to indicate season. For instance, the word "frog" might indicate spring; the word "snow" might indicate winter.

5. There's also usually a juxtaposition of two sensory images. For instance, the most famous haiku involves a frog jumping into a pond as the first sensory image--the water's sound as the second. When put together, the sensory images turn a very simple moment into a profound poem.

There are more rules--if you want to do the research--but this gives a good enough outline of what makes a haiku. For writing your own, it's best to just observe the world around you, make notes, and see if you can spot connections that help you understand nature and the world around you better.


Knowing these rules increases difficulty. I find to hard to stay just in the senses, a good challenge. I still like my daughters poem, but its not a haiku. Here's the hiaku (I hope ) that I'm about to post on the April poems site.

Radish sprouts crowd row.
Careful hand prunes vibrant throng.
Strong plants await rain.

4 comments:

Bob Hendricks said...

That's fascinating about haikus. I didn't know there was so much too them. I like both your poems, daughters and radishes, both growing and thriving.

Dixi said...

Well, I don't think Robert Brewster is THE authority on Haiku.

However it is interesting that Haiku should not have similes or metaphors; and it is a good idea to try to find a way of portraying the 'season' in the Haiku.

I wonder if one had in hand a book of Japanese Haiku whether there would be exceptions to these 'rules' as well. I think sometimes poetry evolves over the years. Just look at the difference in forms that have become acceptable since we began writing poetry.

A haiku of mine:

Red maple is bare
hardly visible are buds
it will be a while.

Peggy said...

Thanks for sharing the haiku guidelines. I guess I have never ever gotten very close to a haiku though I have done some 5-7-5 poems. I like yours though--both of them. I will have to go back through my poetry and see if I can find a haiku that I have done. I MUST have done at least one.

Ruth said...

I feel better now about always feeling completely daunted by the haiku assignments in school--it always seemed SO hard (and I like short poems!) I do like yours.