Haiku meaning and examples
One way of writing your own poetry is to imitate the structure of the Japanese haiku. The Haiku is a tiny verse-form in which the Japanese poets have been working for hundreds of years. The haiku is a simple but subtle little poem of seventeen syllables.
The fierce wind rages
And I see how trees survive
They have learned to bend.
The lonely raindrop
Hurtling silently downwards
Slices humid air.
The Haiku Form
A haiku is unrhymed.
It is three lines long.
It has 17 syllables in all : line 1 has 5 syllables - line 2 has 7 syllables - line 3 has 5 syllables.
It is always written in the present tense
It contains strong visual images.
It captures a fleeting moment usually to do with nature or the seasons
It uses very few words while suggsting a great deal.
Haiku is not expected to be always a complete or even a clear statement. The reader is supposed to add to the words his own associations and imagery and thus to become a co-creator of his own pleasure in the poem.
I have compiled some of my favourite Japanese Haiku. I hope that you will enjoy them as much I enjoy putting them together.
- Basho (1644-1694) - One of the greatest of haiku writers. In his later years he was a student of Zen Buddhism and his later poems which are his best express the rapturous awareness in the mystical philosophy of the identity of life in all its forms. With this awareness, Basho immersed himself in even the tiniest things and with religious fervor and sure craftmanship converted them into poetry. He was loved by his followers and other poets. His Zen philosophy has been perpetuated in later haiku.
- Buson (1715-1783) - He was a little more sophisticated and detached than his predecessor and an equally exquisite writer.
- Issa (1763-1827) - He was less poetic but more lovable than Basho and Buson. His tender, witty haiku about his dead children, his bitter poverty, his little insect friends, endear him to every reader.
I have made a powerpoint presentation about Haiku, but since I cannot post it as powerpoint I have made them as pictures.
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