in my fall– / publishing / before I perish
I posted this on Robert Epstein’s blog on “death awareness poems” recently. I find this poetry to be poignant and clear-eyed – not morbid.
In this poem, there is a kigo, or seasonal reference, and it is “fall.” I guess it works metaphorically because I am a middle-aged man in the fall of my life.
Haiku nearly always have seasonal references.
One of the most difficult lessons for me to un-learn was getting away from the three line, 5-7-5 syllable structure. I was taught way back in elementary school that haiku have this structure. However, literary haiku journals will usually not accept a haiku or senryu with a 5-7-5 structure – unless, perhaps, it’s ‘accidentally’ that way!
A haiku is normally three lines, but not always. It’s possible to have one to four line haiku (and senryu). There is a famous example of a one word haiku:
~ a word used to describe the barren landscape of the Arctic north. I won’t use the word because I don’t have permission to reprint the “poem” here.
[in large letters, and in a field of white] I believe the author was Cor van den Heuvel, but I’m not certain. Now, is that a haiku? Some argue yes. [Source: Michael Dylan Walsh workshop held in Bellingham, WA, January 2010]
A very pleasing haiku to me is one which is three words long. For example:
caterpillars– / transforming / hillsides
This is mine, too.
It is possible to have a three line, three syllable haiku which has a seasonal reference and the two part structure.
Note: I posted large portions of this blog post originally on Writer’s Digest Community, August 25, 2010.