Water Haiku.

I decided to try the Writing 201 Poetry at WordPress Blogging U. The first assignment is haiku and the topic is water. I love haiku. I think Ben Huberman did a good job for introducing the basics of haiku (though simile is maybe not the best device to introduce with haiku) but this simple formula is deceptively deep.

Haiku is not just about the 5-7-5 syllable structure.

Haiku is about:

  • Nature
  • the is-ness of now, NOT past tense
  • finding the perfect season word to express your idea
  • having two images that juxtapose each other but complement each other, making them richer
  • Not using metaphor or simile (or at least obvious ones)

The Haiku Society of America explains this very well if you would like more depth.

What I like about haiku is the opportunity it offers to connect to the present by intensely observing a fleeting moment then distilling the essence of that moment into words. It forces the poet to immerse herself in the fleeting now. Our observations connect us to nature but the act of observing imposes our interpretations on it. I guess this is how poetry is like physics. The act of observing influences what we see. I feel there’s a Schrodinger’s cat analogy here, but actually making it stretches just beyond me.

If you want to deal with human nature and it’s foibles and frailties then you’re really writing senryu. This is haiku’s sibling. Senryu also doesn’t need a seasonal world. Senryu is considered lower class which I think is unfair given that humanity is as richly textured as nature or even just an extension of it.

Writing 201, Day 1 Haiku
Yay!  I finally found a use for this photo

While I support looser interpretations of the structure in favor of creating mood, I still like the challenge of meeting stricter criteria. There comes a point when a piece strays too far from the structure of haiku. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a beautiful poem and it doesn’t mean that such a poem isn’t in its perfect form that was meant to be. I think it’s perfectly fine to have a poem inspired by haiku without calling it haiku. I guess it feels disrespectful to both the tradition and a unique work if you shoehorn it into a label. This idea I have isn’t meant to dissuade anyone from writing. These are simply the lofty goals of haiku. The most important point is to write and enjoy writing and not worry so much about labeling. God knows, my effort is not perfection. At any rate, here it is:

slimy dark puddles—
the splendid universes
you would never drink

I like this first effort, but I edited since I did the image. I felt micro universes didn’t work.  This edit gives it a bit more juxtaposition. Maybe not the most amazing haiku in the world. Given my intro in this post, not sure if I would label this Haiku or a poem inspired by one. Ultimately, I’m happy I wrote a poem today.


10 thoughts on “Water Haiku.”

  1. I really appreciate the lengths you went to explaining the form, and especially pointing out the differences between haiku and senryu, a form of which I was not aware, but will now be researching!

    I also like that you walked us through your edit process, and why. “Splendid” works so well here because it matches the s in “slimy,” as well as those in “universes.” It’s a gorgeous poem, no matter what you decide to call it – the way you’ve really looked at a puddle indicates you can probably call this one haiku, and no one would argue.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I hadn’t even thought about the alliteration.

      There is also a form called kyouka, which (I think is longer like tanka) but is more ireverent, satirizes society and deals with popular or vulgar themes. I suppose it could be called the anti-tanka. I found this great quote (sadly lost the attribution), if it”looks like tanka, treats tanka themes and violates taboos… it’s Kyouka!”

      I wasn’t sure about putting up the editing thing, but I love to peak behind the curtain and I’m the hugest sucker for DVD commentary in a movie. I’m fascinated by people’s creative process.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been writing haiku for a while. I live in Japan now, so I guess I was even more drawn to it. I sometimes try to write them in Japanese but they are pretty horrible.

    This one was supposed to be a little icky!


  3. The information onhaiku was interesting, but led me to the decision that I don’t wish to be a purist. I enjoy my unruly word vomit.

    Having said that I really like your haiku. It manages to be humorous while keeping a poker-straight face. Or maybe that’s just my take on it. I find comedy in the most unexpected places – in slimy dark puddles, for example.


    1. Hi janebasil, thanks for stopping by.

      I think a purist wouldn’t call me a purist, but I know what you mean. Sometimes it’s just better to give form to what’s inside.

      I’m glad you found the humor in my haiku. I also thought it was kind of funny. Not laugh out loud funny but it made me smile when I I wrote it. I thought it was just me though. Presley haooy someone else connected to it on the same level. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything good that i write makes me smile or cry. Smiling is more pleasant, although tears can be useful. I’mglad you took my comment in the spirit in which it was intended.


      2. No worries. Like I said, I totally support variation. It might make me twitch 😉 but the creation is more important than the label.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely construct, I kinda agree about the feeling sometimes when you break the rules to get great results.
    My water Haiku has 20 syllables instead of 17 (5-7-5) and its no less beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: