Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Haiku III

A bad cold since yesterday has for some reason inspired a series of haiku (haikus? haiki? haikae?). This is the last of the batch.

Angry jay in tree
hurls abuse at cat beneath;
cat departs, bird preens.


Blogger Jean said...

Wow, lovely haiku (I think that's the plural, I'm not sure).

Take good care of that cold. Do you take echinacea?

Mary, did you get my email? I emailed you at the address you'd left on Another Blog, because I didn't think you'd find mine anywhere - but maybe you're no longer using it... ?

2:02 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Jean: email response on its way to you. Thank you for the tip off!

Rest and relaxation and lots of Vitamin C at the moment. I think I left the echinacea too late.

2:20 pm  
Blogger MB said...

...and lots of fluids. I'm sorry you have a cold -- no fun at all! A healing hug is winging your way through the ether.

But at least you're getting some haiku out of it. The plural can be haiku or haikus, but I rather like some of the other options you considered! ;-)

5:59 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

I like these haikus a lot, especially the second one.

From the perspective of someone who studied Japanese lit in college: haiku is now an English word, and should be pluralized either with an "s" or without (as in Japanese, which has no plural). Also, for what it's worth, I tend to think that keeping to precisely 17 syllables is not imperative. What IS important, in English, is the three line structure - something Japanese poets almost never use, preferring to write them in a single, horizontal line.

Haikai is also a word: it is the linked verse sequence of 17-syllable and 14-syllable verses, short for haikai no renga. The opening verse of a haikai sequence was called the hokku, and in the early 17th century, poets began to compose and compile collections of these, always with the feeling that they could be used to spark a haikai. Mixtures of prose (bun) and hokku were called haibun, a form I'd like to see imitated in English more often. It was not until the early 20th century that the great poet Masaoka Shiki gave the world both the word and idea of the haiku as a completely independent creation (though like all traditional innovators he cited hokku/haikai masters of the past, such as Basho, Buson and Issa, as the true originators).

One more fascinating factoid (I'm on a roll!): the 17th-century novelist Saikaku Ihara once wrote 10,000 hokku in a single day! It was perhaps in his favor that contemporary standards of Japanese calligraphy favored near-illegibility.

1:54 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Moose: many thanks for your good wishes ;-)

Dave: Thanks so much for the information. Fascinating! I didn't know about your Japanese lit connection. And interesting, the haikai no renga and the prose/poetry combination. I think you have one of the latter on your blog at the moment?

I do like haiku. They are so, well, Buddhist - capturing a moment in time, or the essence of an experience.

Yes, Haiku II was my favourite as well. Thanks again.

9:25 am  

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