The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Shoveling on a Winter Evening



When once again shoveling snow (to make room for the freezing rain that's on the way), what better thing to do to put one in the holiday spirit than to compose haiku!

Sisyphisian.
Clearing the driveway
Never see the end

Haiku is a particular form of Japanese poetry. Each haiku consists of three lines, of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Those are the basic requirements. There are some other considerations that can distinguish a fine haiku. If you go here, you can find out all sorts of things about the aesthetics and history of haiku. It's a very interesting sight.

One of the most famous haiku poets was a Japanese gentleman by the name of Basho. Perhaps his most famous haiku was:

ふる いけ や
かわず とびこむ
みず の おと

Furu ike ya
Kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

Old pond
frog jumped in
sound of water.

This poem has been translated from the Japanese countless times.

Basho also kept a diary on a long walking trip which is a work of literature all on it's own.

On various forums where I've participated, sometimes the members played a game of a "chain haiku." The challenge is to create a haiku using the last line of the previous person's poem. The person coming after you has to begin with the last line of your haiku. It can be quite fun.

In response to Basho's frog haiku, I wrote:

Basho's frog went plop!
and never heard from again.
A snapping turtle.

雪の松

4 comments:

ms_lili said...

love the first line of your haiku! Sisyphusian indeed!

She gives her head a little shake.

--li

ms_lili said...

The snapping turtle snores
in frozen mud, safe from snow,
dreaming of frogs.

JT said...

A snapping turtle
Caught unawares
Frozen in time.

Rick said...

Very good snapping turtle haiku!