Why not free verse, sonnets or ghazals? (I‘ve written some). Or bush ballads? (I love horses).
My involvement with haiku started with an unexpected discovery in 2004. Carla Sari read out a haiku by Dhugal Lindsay:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxpicking up a jellyfish . . . xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxmy lifeline xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxclear and deep
I was immediately transported to my early childhood on the beach at Seaford, holding a moon jellyfish from the shallows (they’re non-stingers) in the palm of my hand, where it became a shining lens. In this first ‘aha moment’ it seemed to me that a haiku could be a lens which, focusing on a detail or two, could evoke an entire scenario and mood, an experience of participation rather than a story told. Continue reading “Why Haiku? : Lorin Ford”
The discipline of haiku guides me to appreciate the ‘now’ of my day. How wonderful it is to jot down images and tiny events that show the extraordinary in the ordinary.
My haiku are not made up of seventeen syllables but usually far fewer. However, I try to keep to the short/long/short format unless I feel the haiku should be a one-liner. I have also written a few two-liners when that is the way they fell.
Though I often use the visual sense in my haiku I also try to catch the other senses of sound, taste, smell and touch. The seasons are used to good effect in most haiku and I too follow this course. I find now I’m older many of my haiku use the autumn season to express thoughts and moments.
The core of the haiku is that light touch and simplicity which shines on the spirit of the poem…that certain something that is almost impossible to explain…maybe wabi sabi.
I write haiku because I must. Since childhood there has been a progression through scribbled jingles, ballads, bush verse and free verse, until I discovered haiku.
This is how it happened: in 2004 I won a voucher in the Lismore City Council’s writing competition which I exchanged for my choice at a local bookstore. Among volumes about mysticism, charms and crystals I came upon Haiku, Ancient and Modern, compiled by Jackie Hardy. Within its pages is a haiku by Elizabeth St Jacques that entranced me.
The Oneness of all things embraces ideas and insights that I cherish. A fan of science and philosophy, I have been irresistibly drawn in recent years to haiku, one of the briefest of all art forms. I admire its attempt to touch on moments of connection in as few words as possible, and those words plain and simple at that. Although, as we know, the subtleties of haiku are elusive, and I am likely to continue along its way as a student for a while yet.
Though in awe of the immensities of space and time, I also love the details and intricacies of nature. The happenings inside tiny spaces never cease to amaze me and I am often struck by the wonder of ordinary things.
I started writing haiku after taking part in a training course with the World Haiku Club in 2003. The form had appealed to me since buying a book by Harold G Henderson: An Introduction to Haiku in the 1960s. I also came across the poet Emily Dickinson at that time and found her short, highly concentrated poems immensely appealing. To be able to express so much in so few words. This seemed the greatest art.
I often write haiku after a walk somewhere. I find it handy to always carry a piece of paper to jot notes or even to write electronically on my smart phone. At other times a prompt may inspire me. I tend to scribble in my notebook and leave the work, then go back and either hone a haiku or abandon it. A few haiku have struggled on for years before completion. The idea has been sketched, but the words are not precise enough. To me the words of a haiku need to induce an emotion beyond logical thought and mere imagery.
white haired audience
the last violin notes
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things. Gerard Manley Hopkins, God’s Grandeur
What I find so alluring about haiku is its evocation of this freshness that Hopkins speaks about and the way that something concealed and surprising can be unveiled and enlarged with the brevity of carefully chosen words.
For me, the way into seeing with freshness and clarity can be reached through quieting the busy-ness of thought and endless activity and centering on here and now. In this quiet space I am gifted with a sense of connection where I become aware of the myriad lives around me – the lives of insects, of leaves, of stars – and of the transitory nature of all things, including our own lives. Continue reading “Unfolding Presence: Lyn Reeves”
Why do I read and write haiku?
Like so many people, I guess, I’ve always been intrigued by what I can only call the mystery of life. What are we? Questions, questions, questions . . . In younger and more certain days I looked for answers and followed many trails only to end up with even more questions. Now, in my ageing and more mellow days I’ve come to accept questions for just what they are – questions. At last I allow mystery to be mystery. And this is where haiku fits in.
For me, haiku is a way of capturing the fleeting nature of nature. No other poetic form seems suited so well to bringing the delicateness of the world to the page, and to illuminating the way things balance before they fall over or take flight. Or something close to both, as in this one by Issa (maybe my favourite of all haijin), translated by R.H.Blyth: