Poetry, Haiku style...a simple way to paint pictures with words.
...By Crystal A. Murray and friends.
This page will start out small, with just a few Haiku poems on it, but it should grow.
- So, remember to save this page to visit later.
The items on this page are taken from a lesson I prepared for the members of my Louisville Christian Writers group. All supporting Haiku examples are written by me, Crystal A. Murray, ©copyright 2000.
Have you ever looked at a beautiful scene, or some very interesting human activity, and had it speak to you poetically somehow? Maybe you've wished to capture the memory for others. Well you can learn here how to paint those special moments in words by recording
them in short, evocative poems called Haiku.
are Japanese in origin and traditionally consist of seventeen syllables that are written in 3 lines which are usually divided into 5, 7 and 5 syllables, respectively. (The word and syllable count does not always follow this pattern, but - especially in American Haiku - this is the "most recognizable" pattern.)
Also, Haiku is usually non-rhyming.
Here is the first of just a few examples of the many wonderful things you, too, can do with Haiku. I'll use underlines in this example to show the syllable breaks...
.....This is a hai-ku;
.....se-ven-teen syl-la-bles are
.....cap-tured in three lines.
Matsuo Basho, (1644-1694), who is considered the greatest master of this form of poetry, had said that the poet should write directly from his own experience and should try to seek the deeper, inner life of the subject or moment's activity. He stated, "Learn of the pine from the pine: learn of the bamboo from the bamboo."
Basho's poems continue to influence writers around the world. Four days before his death, he wrote this haiku:
"On a journey, ill
My dream goes wandering
Over withered fields."
Here is a site I found with a brief chronology of Basho's life: "http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~kohl/basho/b_chron.html"
And here is a small collection of Basho's haiku: "http://www.dublinwriters.org/haiku/basho.html"
Because haiku are often, and best, written fresh from experience - or very soon thereafter - and since they can be quickly written down even on small scraps of paper (like napkins, envelopes, receipt backs, etc.), they are very easy to get into the habit of writing. I recommend carrying a small journal or notebook specifically for the purpose of writing Haiku. Here is an example using today's weather experience. (That is "today" as it was the day I originally wrote this lesson).
Note: I will put the count of syllables in parenthesis on this, and the rest, of the examples...
.....It started out rain (5)
.....Cold will soon turn it to snow (7)
.....What happened to Spring? (5)
It is important to use your first impression, exactly as it was, when you write about subjects taken from daily life.
Here's another example...(can you tell
where I was at when writing this?)...
.....Quiet all around (5)
.....Just a whisper here and there; (7)
.....People reading books. (5)
So, what do I write about?
Haiku is a simple form of poetry that can be used to describe almost anything, but you rarely find any topics or themes which are too complicated for most people to recognize and understand. I've been finding a ton of Haiku contests online that name a theme relative to the site, or newsletter, hosting the contest. Some of the best Haiku is able to describe some daily, or common, situation in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience. (For example; the many, many, many Haiku on the - now worn-out - issue of Y2K.)
Here's one about an experience we (that is
the writers in LCW - and other writers who join in writing group critique sessions) have all shared...
.....A group of writers (5)
.....Our souls on paper to view-- (7)
.....We share from our hearts. (5)
The Technique Called "Cutting"
"Cutting separates your Haiku into two parts which are slightly independent of each other, yet they are still in agreement with each other. Each section should increase the understanding of the other. The two parts
also usually compare two items or ideas, or they show the affect of one item or idea upon another. Either the first or the second line then will normally end with a colon, ellipsis (that is three periods or dots...), or a double (or long) dash. Here are two
.....Heat waves in the air, (5)
.....Icicles aim for the ground; (7)
.....Opposite seasons. (5)
.....First I heard your voice (5)
.....Then I felt your loving touch... (7)
.....Now I know true love. (5)
The Seasonal Theme of Haiku.
In this theme (which is the main type of Haiku writing), each Haiku should contain what is called a "kigo", or season word, which is to indicate the season the Haiku is taking place in. For example, flowers & butterflies indicate spring; snow & ice indicate winter; mosquitoes & lightning bugs indicate summer; and multi-colored leaves indicate autumn. But, the season word isn't always that obvious.
Here are four examples. Can you tell the season of each?
.....A cup of cocoa, (5)
.....Flames blaze in a fireplace; (7)
.....I am warmed inside. (5)
.....New blossoms on trees, (5)
.....Pink, white, purple, and yellow; (7)
.....Generate new life. (5)
.....The sidewalk is hot, (5)
.....I do not have shoes to bear it; (7)
.....I walk on the grass. (5)
.....Feeding time is done, (5)
.....The green has left the trees; (7)
.....Look at the colors. (5)
As a result of writing haiku...
- You will be more apt to notice, or be aware of, the present moment, (something that is important for every writer);
- You will realize the POET-ential (potential) of each moment for settings to be used in stories and articles.
- You can recapture some of the keen and vivid perception you had when you were young and everything was new and wonderful and worthy of further investigation... or at least of telling the world around you about - (which is why we become writers anyway, right?).
- And, you will have a heightened and deepened appreciation of life & nature, and how to paint them with word pictures.
My final example...
.....I've written much verse, (5)
.....You've seen my examples now; (7)
.....Time to write your own. (5)
Go back to my main page.
Last page update = 3-22-2000 . . .