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Opening the gate...
2003/1/29 8:39
村民 :: Villager
議長 :: Mod
Posts: 88
Perhaps in fitting with Kutaki, here is a short introduction to one Japanese form of poetry.


This form of poetry originated in Japan during the 16th century, when poets collectively worked on non-rhyming poems (called haikai-rengas) by adding stanzas of 17 (three lines of five, seven, and five) syllables, or 14 (two lines of seven) syllables.

The word “haiku” comes from “hokku”, the first verse of a haikai-renga poem.

Here are the elements of a traditional haiku:

1. Structure: Three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.

2. Absence of metaphor and does not use poetic devices such as metaphor.

3. All haiku is theme-specific, always referring to some aspect of nature such as a season, an animal, or the weather.

The goal of a Haiku is most commonly seen as an attempt to capture the beauty of a moment with vivid imagery.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Haiku's first great poet was Basho Matsuo, who developed the contemplative nature that often characterizes haiku by basing his material on the writings of ancient philosophers, which contained certain elements and descriptions that were well suited to this short form of poetry.

Here are a few of his famous poems. Keep in mind that they don't translate exactly in the 5-7-5 syllable form, but that in Japanese they are 5-7-5.

on a barren branch

a raven has perched--

autumn dusk


old pond...

a frog leaps in

water's sound

-Westernized Haiku:

One of the problems with writing haiku and other Japanese form poetry (such as senryu and tanka) in English is that the flow of the English language is markedly different from that of Japanese.

Often the form doesn’t work nearly as well in English.

For this reason, in the 1970s many English-speaking poets began writing “free-form haiku” which does not rigidly follow the 5-7-5 rule, but still tries to follow the “inspired” and imagistic quality of the Japanese poetry, and also attempts to retain some of the techniques often used by the Japanese poets as well, such as sensory language or word play.

The lines of the poem must follow natural breaks in the language; in other words, a sentence should not be broken into two lines at an unnatural place – which is why English haikus often work better when they deviate from the strict Japanese form.

The following English haiku has seventeen syllables and uses visual imagery to describe natural objects.

moving into the sun

the pony takes with him

some mountain shadow

--Jane Reichhold, 1996


So lets see what you can come up with!


(Acknowledgements to Poetstrain)

Posted on: 2003/2/5 14:21
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Re: Opening the gate...
Frequent Visitor
2003/2/3 21:43
From Spring, Texas
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 21
Okay, I'll give it a try..

Night sky full moon
Whisp of cloud


The burn, the sting
Indelible ink

.. my favorite..

She won't prance under the pale moon ever
Her faded denims sit in the corner,

yea? nay? honest opinions please.

Posted on: 2003/2/7 23:18
Brad Ellin
"Let go of the idea, "I exist"...
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Haiku for the warrior
In all this cool
is the moon also sleeping?
There, in the pool?

-Ryusui (1691-1758)

Haikus can also be questions

And one of my favorites .....

Night; and once again,
the while I wait for you, cold wind
turns into rain

-Shiki, Masaoka (1867-1902)

Posted on: 2003/2/8 7:58
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Re: Opening the gate...

Posted on: 2003/3/13 7:24
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Posted on: 2003/3/13 15:38
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To be a rock and not to roll
Silent, weighted, mossy stone.
Rain caressing, going home.

Posted on: 2003/4/10 12:35
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Without a thought for the ground,
Buoyant feather floating by.

Posted on: 2003/4/11 17:40
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Re: Gravity
Here if you guys like haiku you might get a kick out of this site...

Haiku Periodic Table


Posted on: 2003/4/11 21:33
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Old Haikus from our newsletter.
Yeah there's not as sombre as the trtadtional hiaku however they are funny. I have several dozen.

Dog Haikus

The cat is not all
bad- she fills the litter box
with Tootsie Rolls

Look in my eyes and
deny it. No human could
love you as much as I do.

My owners mood is
romantic- I lie near their
feet. I fart a big one.

Steven Seagull (C'om on You know who!)

I know what you think.
You think you're about the law.
You're not above mine.

Take over this ship?
That's just not gonna happen.
I'm taking you down.

My partners all die
in ambush, by trickery.
And I fight alone.

And one Traditional one...

Frog in the stream.
Moonlight on a gun barrel.
Look out, O'Rielly!

Posted on: 2003/4/12 3:55
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I like it when something happens or occurs to you, and you can't describe it in a common, plain spoken sentence.

There's a song by the Fauves called something like "Dogs are the very best people". Check it out if you get a chance.

Posted on: 2003/4/13 19:55
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