Aug 172015

Haiku are snapshots from nature

Haiku are snapshots from natureMaybe you’ve heard what haiku is. Maybe you write, or waiting a glorious time to start writing.

It is generally defined as the shortest form of poetry. It contains a maximum of 17 syllables. For some people that number is an upper boundary, and for some other it is an exact syllable count.

Haiku is a traditional Japanese poetry form. Its roots extend to the seventeenth century. It is a descendant form of tanka which has 31 syllables in 5 lines. The first 3 lines are named as hokku, and it is followed by two 7 syllable lines. Hokku’s lines contain 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

First haiku culture started with Basho who separated hokku from tanka as an independent poetry form.

The two important haiku poets who followed Basho, are Buson and Issa.

In the twentieth century, western poetry discovered haiku.

Now it is a popular form in modern poetry.

Haiku deals with nature. It is like a snapshot that freezes a moment. It is minimal. It does not try to tell what you feel. Instead, it paints a sketch for you to complete the required details in your mind.

Here are a few examples from me:

haiku 4
grass green —
a butterfly flaps its wings
a tornado starts

haiku 6
stars falling down
from the sky’s window —
mirror in water

There is another poem type which uses exactly the same form as haiku. It is called senryu.

Senryu too, has 3 lines containing a total of 17 syllables. However in senryu, you are not limited with the nature and the natural events. In senryu, you can write about people, even you can add yourself into the poem. You have no limitations in the context.

Here is a senryu example:
senryu 36
when the street is dry
you perceive no sound of tyre —
tyres are singing now

In the modern era, if you live in a cosmopolitan super-city, it is more likely to write senryu instead of haiku. I am doing so. Because the untouched, natural “nature” is very difficult to be found in the middle of the modern life.

Whether haiku, or senryu I bet you can write! You don’t have to be a famous poet. But, it is a very nice and practical way of expressing your feelings and thoughts in a few minutes.

You must give it a try! You will love it!

ahmet aksoy

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