I Used to Write Haikus (here are some)

Not that I have vowed never to do so again or anything. It’s just been a while. Actually, upon digging these up, it made me want to write some more.

I digress.

These were all written in spring of 2011, when I was writing anything and everything, in either online competitions or simply out of boredom. The haiku was a fun format to play around with. Granted, the actual literary tradition is pretty nebulous to me beyond the 5-7-5 syllable count (which, to my knowledge, is a somewhat bastardized version to begin with). So read these with the caveat that I was basically interpreting a syllabic restriction, as opposed to actually learning the process, art, or craft of haiku.

Here are three. Enjoy or (briefly) endure.

Solitary con
Fine meant he needed no one
The “self” illusion

pockets of receipts
just enough to flint a flame
past burns worn for warmth

tiny arms outstretched
spell a word they can’t define
but know without thought


4 thoughts on “I Used to Write Haikus (here are some)

  1. i usually don’t look at the wordpress newsroll deal when logging in, and anytime/every time i see something dealing with haiku i am intrigued.

    sharing some nuggets from the introduction of a collection of haiku from japan’s greatest haiku poets:

    *Tanka [and Haiku] produce a certain dreamlike effect, presenting images of reality without that definite quality of “realness” often possessed by photographs or drawings, as if the image proceeded directly from the mind of the dreamer… [It] thus provides a look at nature but also regards the observer of nature as well.

    *Though a good haiku may contain more than one sentence, it only evokes one poetic image. Since about the sixteenth century, three conventions have become universally accepted: (1) the haiku describes a single state or event; (2) the time of the haiku is the present; and (3) the haiku refers to images connected to the four seasons.

    *…The poet must become unconscious of himself so as to see the object of his poem with absolute clarity, as it is in and of itself. In haiku then, there is an attempt to “say something without saying it.”

    *Much has been said about the “haiku moment” – that it blurs the distinction between “subject” and “object,” “self” and “other”; that in the perception of the essential and the accidental, of the beautiful and the ugly, disappears; that it reflects things as they are in themselves.

    (copy/pasted that from a post i wrote about a year ago)

    interestingly, tolstoy’s observations in his work, “what is art?” draw intersting connections to the japanese haiku/tanka. choice quotes:

    “The business of art lies just in this, — to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.”

    “Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.”

    really, what i’m trying to say is that i marvel at one’s ability to be able to induce meditative oneness between/with a reader and an author in such a confined capacity. it seems like the words become super dense atoms, and these singular observations become, if anything, Truth (with a capital T) and a union between humans.

    • Thanks for checking the post out, and even more thanks for sharing some knowledge about haikus! I was aware of the naturalistic elements of haiku (I bought a collection when Borders was going under), but that’s a great insight to see how its origin coincides with other canonical concepts of art. I think you’re spot on to suggest that art is a galvanizing force, and in many ways what humanity can be at its best.

      Now you got me wanting to post more of my haikus!

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