Playing with Haiku

IMG_0136Lately, I’ve been playing with Haiku; a form of poetry originating in Japan in the 16th century. A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. It often focuses on images from nature and emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.

The form was mastered in the 17th century by Matsuo Basho. Here are two of his I particularly enjoy:

A wild sea-
In the distance over Sado
The Milky Way.

Wrapping dumplings in
bamboo leaves, with one finger
she tidies her hair.

Over time the form has evolved and the rules — including the 5/7/5 syllable structure — have often been broken. Yet the essence of haiku remains the same. The focus is on a brief moment in time; offering vivid, colorful images and a sense of expansion, insight or illumination.

I’ve always felt, as Shakespeare so brilliantly said, that “brevity is the soul of wit”. Writing Haiku gives you a chance to really distill the essence of a moment in time and how it touches you on the deeper level of your heart and soul.

Plus if you want to try instant publication – it’s perfectly suited to the 140 character limits of Twitter. I’m having fun with this.

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