Culturally and Linguistically Authentic Haiku

This week’s prompt will not ask you to rehash your old elementary school writing assignments.  Instead, you will be composing works that strive towards an authentic form and sound.

Let’s start with form because this will be the easy part.  An authentic haiku does not necessarily conform to the old “5 in the first line, seven in the second, and 5 in the third” syllable count.  A haiku can have fewer than 3 lines or more than 3 lines.  Also, the total syllable count need not equal seventeen.   (For more information, check here.)  Poetry is not math, so don’t treat it that way.

Next, you should try to conform to an authentic syllable structure because English tends to be bulkier than Japanese.  In Japanese, syllables usually have only two sounds: a consonant followed by a vowel.  If you want an increased challenge, restrict yourself to the consonants used in Japanese: k, w, n, t, h, m, y, r, and s as well as /sh/, /ch/, /ts/ and the KY in “Kyoto.”

Last but not least, your subject matter should conform to traditional haiku.  You’ll be writing about nature, not about shampoo or Vladimir Putin.

How can this not be inspirational?  (Photo credit: josstyk)

How can this not be inspirational? (Photo credit: josstyk)

However, haiku isn’t simply about nature.  Here’s a succinct explanation of what you’re trying to accomplish:

So one thing that I think makes a real haiku is when the changes in nature reflect deep transformations in oneself.

Steve McCarty

May your poetry be as deep as the forest.

Compose and publish your response to this prompt on your own blog.  Be sure to include a link to this post so that a pingback will appear here, thereby allowing other participants to discover your work.  Please be patient if your pingback does not appear immediately; I am not at my computer 24/7 and I have to approve all pingbacks.  For this reason, using the bcandelabra tag may be advisable.

Bonus instructions: When you’re done, go back and check out some of the older challenges.  New responses to those challenges still come in on occasion and it would be a shame if everyone missed them.