The Japanese know how to appreciate the moment: think of those tea ceremonies where the design and the feel of the cup is lauded, the colour of the drink discussed, the scent, the very feel of the beverage dissected and praised. Not surprising, therefore, the land of the rising sun gave us the haiku.
Haiku is a poetic form that, traditionally, aims to capture a moment in nature, like a snapshot with words. Again, this is most typically achieved using seventeen syllables arranged in three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables.
The practice of writing haikus is particularly useful if you are engaged in a word-limited literary arena such as writing songs. In such instances, words should be chosen carefully so that they can convey the specific mood, meaning and impact you require and haikus can help you build up that muscle. Haikus encourage you to pick up every word and study it closely for its sound, meaning, feel and impact. Here are some examples of the haiku:
Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.
My all time favourite, however, is the haiku by the ‘punk poet, John Cooper Clarke:
Writing a poem
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffic.
(John Cooper Clarke, 1979)
Which also serves as a useful memory aide for the form…
The picture here is crying out for a haiku, can you think of one?