Have you seen the meme floating around facebook of how words are magic? How a few sounds we make with our mouths can create images in others’ minds?
To me, nothing does this better than a haiku. So few words that make such a complete picture. I’m a purist when it comes to haiku (and pizza. Only pepperoni and cheese will do. If I get fancy with the sauces and the toppings, its good, but it just doesn’t satisfy that pizza craving. You feel me? But I digress…). Haiku are now accepted in all syllabic form, with greater flexibility of subject and style. And that’s fine. But for me, I like traditional. I like the restraint, the magic created from the rigidity. What does that say about me? Umm…
So what is a traditional haiku?
First, the structure. Three lines 5-7-5 The first line needs to have five syllables, and so on.
Second, the subject. A traditional haiku is usually about nature.
Third, the images. It includes a word or phrase called the kigo which symbolizes or implies a season (usually using nature themes). Then there’s also the kireji (which is my favorite, I have no idea why? Maybe because I adore juxtapositions?) which is a cutting word that resonates and causes the poem to end reflectively. Wikipedia calls it “a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.” Isn’t that lovely? Here are more random fun facts about haiku.
And here’s my haiku that I’m excited to have published in this month’s issue of Haiku Journal.
Blue filters through oak
leaves, catching the green on fire
like copper burning
My kigo is the oak leaves, green, implying spring or early summer, while my kireji is the juxtaposition between the images of new, fresh leaves and burning copper.
This one didn’t make it into the journal but it’s my absolute favorite so I want to share it with you guys:
The red snapdragon
growls at the chirping cricket:
No one can hear me!
There are many beautiful poems in the latest issue of Haiku Journal and they have them online for your viewing pleasure here. Mine is in Issue #44. They don’t charge reading fees so why don’t you submit one too?
So how do you feel about haiku? Are you a traditionalist or do you embrace the modern form? Tell me what you think about mine or comment with your own haiku. And then submit it to the journal and you could be as awesome as me and take bookshelfies with your copy, hahaha.