Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More haiku/haikus

What is the plural of haiku?
Haiku? Haikus? What to do?

I think that I’ll choose
‘Haikus’ to use 
To post these haiku haikus for you.

Okay, I agree that’s pretty bad but you try writing a limerick about haikus.

For those who have not read previous posts in Bytes about haikus, they are the traditional Japanese poems that consist of seventeen syllables arranged in three lines.  The first line has five syllables, the second has seven and the third has five.  In traditional Japanese haiku the poet generally describes a fleeting moment in nature; usually something he has observed and that has moved him. Through the haiku's simple image or series of images, the poet tries to arouse in the reader the same sensation that he has experienced.  Often there is grand image or thought in the last line and commonly there is a reference to the season or nature.

Haikus, in Japanese culture date back many centuries, the grand masters of haikus emerging in the 17th century.  The greatest of these is generally regarded to be Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), who is commonly called just Basho.

A Basho haiku:

On a withered bough 
A crow alone is perching 
Autumn evening now

Visualise the image: a solitary crow sitting on a withered tree branch, autumn and night approaching. In the simple words of the above haiku Basho powerfully conveys loneliness, solitude and isolation. 

Often times Japanese haikus are intertwined with Zen philosophy, as in one of Basho’s most widely known: 

Ancient pond 
A frog leaps in 
The sound of water

I won’t go into the Zen aspect here, that will have to wait for a future Bytes. 

Haikus have been extended in the West to apply to a whole range of subject matter, although always remaining true to the 5-7-5 syllable structure. 

Here are some amusing haiku . . .

Caution, there is swearing included.

A response by a young student when the teacher set the class a task of writing a haiku.

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