Urban Haiku

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Haiku is an ancient form of poetry that originated with Buddhist monks in Japan. They are generally 17 syllables and 2-4 lines in length. The subjects are primarily around nature with images that contradict or juxtapose one another. The traditional format for the poem is this:

5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables

Some American poets, including the late Allen Ginsberg, have written haiku in seventeen syllable, single line sentences. Others have written haiku that doesn't follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic format. The main concern with haiku is to capture a concrete image, not to ponder abstract thought. Some argue that the brief nature of the poems reflect the brevity of earth, but, that thought seems much too abstract to fit with the essence of haiku.

In fact, one of the most famous Haiku poems, by Basho, does not follow this 5-7-5 format but, rather, the somewhat less common, and harder to master, 3-5-3:

old pond...

a frog leaps in

water's sound


Another famous haiku by Basho does follow this format:


the first cold shower

even the monkey seems to want

a little coat of straw


(source, wikipedia)


The Haiku that follow are not naturalistic. They are based on urban life, which I find much more interesting to write about. Haiku is also very deceptive. It's a simple form that is complicated to write well. Are the Haiku that follow good? I'll let you decide. I wrote most of them in just a few minutes. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to experiment with urban Haiku, send me a link and I'll post it below!

Also, most haiku is untitled, but I've chosen to title these ones.



Urban Haiku



Falling


shoe laces untied

upstairs precariously

then bloody pavement.


Nuisance


out the window birds

sing and intrude my slumber

a pellet gun retrieved.


Onomatopoeia


crunch, crunch go the leaves

under my jaunty sneakers

autumn has arrived,


Forced


asked to write haiku

he’s counting the syllables

and completing the task.


Jungle Gym


jabberwocky Screams

terrifying creatures play

children orphaned here.


Owing


the debt collector

calling me at dinnertime

fails in his job.



all rights reserved. Justin W. Price, copyright March 7th, 2012.


My Poetry Collection

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY)IS A POET, SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHY AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION, DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, BURNINGWORD, THE WHISTLING FIRE, SEE SPOT RUN ANDTHE BELLWETHER REVIEW.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOSTWRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

PLEASE VISIT HIS PROFILE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. THANKS!

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Comments 52 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you, Audrey. So pleased that you stopped by!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Always a joy to read your work Justin!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Rajan. I appreciate the kind words :")


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Justin, a very interesting explanation of what haiku is and some beautiful haikus that follow. Keep penning them my friend.

Voting this up and beautiful.


sujithbeta profile image

sujithbeta 4 years ago from Kerala, India

Nice article. You are writing very well. Looking forward for your next haiku's


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks fester sporling


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

It's so very interesting hub about haiku a short form of Japanese Poetry.Great hub!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

i liked yours, Theresa... and I'm glad you liked mine :=)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Hi Justin - Good Hub. I like that you included some background and description, examples of an ancient master, as well as your own Haiku. My favorite is Forced. :) Let's see what I can do. :)

March, April, and May

longing for mist, cool breezes

resenting the heat

I live in Georgia and this winter, we had no winter weather to speak of, and began to have summer heat in early spring. I am a very unhappy camper. :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

LOL. Thanks Linda... that was the first one I wrote for this series! Nice to see you!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Michael


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

My favorite is:

shoe laces untied

upstairs precariously

then bloody pavement.

OUCH!!! lol


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Well written Justin,

very inventive and innovative.

Sharing.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Audrey... and i am in no way ever labelled as traditional!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Frank. I appreciate that!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Ah Justin--Loved these!! I know they are not traditional, but cleverly done!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

I liked these PDX actually they were pretty damn good :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks, Raci. I'm please you enjoyed this!


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

i like the variations of haiku you have here Justin and educational too...


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

ardie... that's not the worst thing it could be loaded with!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

Hahah I will try! My Hub will be loaded wih haiku :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks, Caroline. I'm glad you enjoyed this!


carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

Hi Justin great hub! Voted up.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

IMKarn.. it's an interesting form, and it's hard to write, at least for me, because of the strict adherence to form. Thanks for reading and commenting!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

missolive... I hope the reason you can't pick a fave is because you like them all, not because you don't like any of them :-) Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your feedback


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Alastar. I appreciate the votes!


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

Thanks for this great lesson! a friend of mine writes nothing but haiku, and at first - i was mystified...I now, however,have a great respect for the art form!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

PDX - Great lesson and collection! You did a very nice job and I enjoyed the variations and resources you listed. I have to be honest - It's hard to pick a fav on this hub. Keep em' coming.

Voted up and share


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Justin,

ER? What happened?

Take care


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Very good Justin! Faves: Ono and Owing. Vote er up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Aurelio, i liked that i was able to do that too. Although, Jabberwocky itself was originally a poem.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Savanah. Me too... or, if I'm feeling silly, a good limerick does the trick


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sue... most of the ancient Haiku are untitled, but many modern haiku writers do title them. I generally do not title mine. Thanks for reading!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

You're welcome, Pickles. I'm glad you enjoyed these!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Hey Teylina. Hyphen Bird is really good at everything she writes. she's one of my faves. I've tried different forms of Haiku, ut my favorite is the 5-7-5. Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed these!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

sorry y'all for not getting back to you sooner. I spent last night in the ER. Good times! (but at least I have a fancy new bracelet and a future hub)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I did not know there were all these types. My favorite is the Jungle Gym one because you managed to work-in jabberwocky. Voting this Up and Beautiful.


savanahl profile image

savanahl 4 years ago

Very nice writing. Haiku has become on of my favorite poetry forms to write. You write them so beautifully. Voting up.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

Love your comment, Ardie --soul sisters unknown?


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Justin.

I tried to pick my favourite but I couldn't because they are all great.

I did not know that most haiku is untitled.

Voted up up and away!

Take Care


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

thanks for explaining the haiku and giving us some great examples. I liked Owing the best. Vote up!


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

Very informative and interesting. I like "Nuisance" and "owing" stabs me; however, I find the shorter haikus such as Hyphenbird has offered more difficult to execute, and the intensity of "less said" grabs me more. In either case, I think it can be nature or urban--like both takes.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 4 years ago

I like "Nuisance" and "Owing" but believe it's tougher to write Haikus such as Hyphenbirds. Some natural, some urban, but she's got it nailed.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Lady_e.... practice makes perfect, they say!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Gypsy. I actually wrote that one in class when the professor wanted us to write haiku :-)


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Interesting read - I enjoy writing poems but still haven't got the hang of Haiku's.

I learnt a few things in your Hub though, like the syllables etc.

Cheers.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up! Great way of demonstrating Haiku. The Falling one really got to me. Yikes! And being inept at anything like a Haiku I'd fall in the category of Forced. Thanks for another great hub.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you, Susan, I appreciate that!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

ardie... you should give it a try! I'm quite the talker myself.... you could just write a lot of haiku :=)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I love writing and reading haiku's. These are great!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

Hi PDX, I love the shorts you wrote to make a point about urban haiku - I don't think I could ever write a haiku - I talk to much. I even failed my business letter writing course because I didn't understand how to keep brief and to the point...wait what were we talking about again? Oh, well. My favorite was the ononomomonopeea. :)

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