Thursday, 1 May 2008

Haikus don't count as poetry.

OK I said I don't write poetry and it's true - I leave that to the talented (courtly bow in an Oxfordly direction). I have a thing for haikus though, as they confine you to 17 syllables and it's like taking a photo - lining up the shot, trying to get everything in, remembering to put the flash on, etc... and for those of us (me) with the borderline OCD, there's nothing that comes more naturally than counting syllables on my fingers while trying to work out if I've missed my stop on the bus. AAAAAAAAnyway. This came to mind during a lull yesterday while I was simultaneously noticing that the great British spring was entirely over with not much to show for it, and wondering why we don't have an equivalent of the Japanese hanami, where "enjoying the ephemeral nature of the beauty of the cherry blossom" is considered an actual activity, the sort of thing you'd put on your CV or use as an excuse for not helping wash the car.

Pink snow in gutters.
Pink confetti on car roofs.
Bewildered nude trees.

10 comments:

Brother Tobias said...

Do they have to be 17 exactly, or is that a max? Any other rules?

lucyfishwife said...

They used to make us write them at school, and it was 17 syllables, traditionally 5-7-5; in Japanese it's a lot more complicated, because I think they have to have a reference to a season or something equally stylised... I looked on Wikipedia, which is notoriously unreliable for a lot of things but I'd trust them on this, because who'd write an article on haikus except somebody Japanese and erudite? Wrote another one walking home yesterday in the rain:
Soaked through my jacket,
Headache, backache, PMT -
Oh look! A rainbow!

The Sagittarian said...

I really like haiku but am hopeless at them. My daughter is pretty good at them tho', oh why did I not pay more attention at school?! (Actually, the answer to that is a whole new story altogether)

Brother Tobias said...

Haiku scansion
May require local knowledge.
Eg, in Trottiscliffe.

lucyfishwife said...

Not entirely sure
if using "e.g." as one
syllable's cheating..

but seeing as I'm
not an expert at haikus
who am I to talk?

lucyfishwife said...

PS Sagittarian - I only ever paid attention to the things that would be of no use to me at all! So I'm great at alliteration and charcoal line-drawing but ribbish at maths and politics...

lucyfishwife said...

... and spelling....

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I call them DieKu's actually, but I enjoyed yours!

Thanks muchly for the courtly bow though.

Brother Tobias said...

Ah, but 'eg' is two...Trottiscliffe is pronounced 'Trosley'. (But I don't know what I was thinking of making 'scansion' three).

The Sagittarian said...

I dunno, "ribbish" has a certain ring to it really!