Monday, March 28, 2011

Poetry Lessons: Haiku

When I teach form, I explain it as a frame.  You have a great idea, and the form you write in is your frame for that idea. For me, haiku means looking at the image in the frame and then re-framing one small square-inch of the total piece. Looking at the ocean, haiku may frame only the crest of one wave or the starfish floating by. 

Haiku is the sample spoon at Baskin Robbins.

Last week, at CoOp, I explained haiku and we read some samples of traditional Japanese haiku by Basho and one other poet.  The way these writers can use so few words to paint such brilliant pictures escapes me, but I like to try anyhow.  My one sweet student and I headed outside to sit in the grass, breathe the fresh air (sneeze at the pollen) and attempt to write our own masterpieces.  

Well, here are my results.  I broke the rules on one.  Can you figure out which one?


Green grass is blowing
Wind lifts strands of my black hair
Close eyes and sense peace

Diligent black ant
Legs working so hard to climb
Clover like tree limbs

Tree blooms white blossoms
Leaves crackle under my feet
Spring is art and song

Great black stump on hill
Trunk left for dead on its side
Mother tree mourns alone

Sharp green blade of grass
Pierces dead leaves and pine straw
Life always made new

The grass is so thick.
Could I hide inside and sleep?
Slumber in the sunshine.

How time does stretch on
When you ask your soul to still -
meet God in nature.

Ant on my cell phone
Seems out of place in nature
My two worlds collide

Fat black ant coming
I see another in the grass
Three green blades - whole worlds

Neon green moss bed.
If only I knew the names
for all that Spring grows.


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