Your Good Life has a Poets’ Corner and Recollections for memoirs and journaling. This week’s blog combines these two so we are putting it here. I hope you enjoy the experience of a week of journaling employing ancient Japanese poetry. If you do, thank Margaret Simpson our Poet Laureate for introducing this fascinating form of expression.

This attempt at writing using Haiku structure may not qualify as poetry. Or if so, as bad poetry. But it is communicating, so here goes for this week’s blog.

Haiku is poetry originating in the 17th century in Japan. It is three lines with a prescribed number of segments in each. We call them syllables and the Japanese call them “oms”. Using English, the pattern for syllables is 5-7-5. It is impossible to maintain this pattern intact when translating from Japanese to English or vice versa. For example:

Shown in bright cases (5)
Silent loaves in sterile rows (7)
Ice cream in gouges (5)

This verse in English is declarative and objective. The simple message leaves the reader with a question, where was the writer, what were his thoughts? (is he walking in the aisles of a supermarket?) It presents in the English form thought that is brief and focused. It describes items on display as processed by the mind of the observer. But first……

Classical Haiku

Noon, (1)
Orioles singing, (5)
The river flows in silence (7)

This is an example of classical Haiku translated from Japanese. It is from the 18th century master Issa whose sensibility was compared to Dickens. This poem sets the time, noon and we “hear” the birds singing in the setting of the river whose movement is soundless and timeless?

This concise recording of thought is akin to Journaling. They are combined here.


A Week in Haiku

Now spring’s warm caress
Not a waning winter kiss
Summer is coming

The Lord’s day is here
What makes it so different
All our days are His

Life’s autumn is now
Hours ooze a suspended veil
We submit to time

The desk is cluttered
Traces of efforts persist
What deserves saving?

Invited to dine
Or did I invite myself?
The discourse was bright

Spikes and green leaves frame
Bright colors to remember
Black dirt nourishes

The big screen staring
With no brain just memory
unique mastery

For those of you who are interested in Haiku and may want to try your hand at it; there will soon be more in the Recollections/Journaling section of Your Good Life.

By Gene Helveston


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