Tag Archives: haiku

The Essence of Haiku

I am not a poetry person. I don’t read poetry [mostly], and I certainly don’t write it, but ever since my university days, I’ve loved the sound of haiku… in Japanese.

In particular, I love the Bashō haiku about the Old Pond:

Furu ike ya
Kawazu tobikomu
Mizu no oto

There are countless translations of this haiku, but the one I like the best is the one that sticks the most closely to the actual Japanese words:

Old pond
Frog jumps in
Sound of water

Water can have all sorts of sounds, so the onomatopoeic word ‘plop’ used in some translations kind of makes sense, but while that idea is obviously understood by Japanese readers, the actual words are so much more…subtle?

Mizu means water.
Oto means sound.
No is a possessive.

Thus ‘mizu no oto’ literally means ‘water’s sound’. It is left to our imaginations to decide which one of the many mizu no oto is made by a frog when it jumps into a pond.

It’s been fifty years since I last tried to mangle the Japanese language, so I went looking for a proper native speaker to recite this haiku. What I found was a video that gave the best explanation of haiku I’ve ever heard. Syllables vs mora vs on. Content words vs rhythm. And a whole lot more.

I promise. The video below is well worth the listen:

Oh, and you’ll find the recitation I was talking about at 2:37. You’re welcome. 😀


Poetry contest! [for the playfully inclined….]

meeka thumbs upIf you’ve ever wrangled a haiku, sighed at a sonnet or lol-ed at a limmerick, here’s your chance to have some fun and be in the running for a $20 Amazon gift certificate!

Where:     Candy’s Monsters

When:      October. The winner will be drawn on October 31, 2016


How:        Either on the contest page [public] or via email [private]

email:       candyATsweetcopyDOTcom

Just remember, the idea is to have fun. 😀



#Haiku help needed – update 24/1/2016

Thank you to all those who left comments and suggestions. Your help gave me a really valuable insight into haiku, at least in the English form, and why it’s so hard to write.

For those interested, my little insight has to do with the sound of the haiku when spoken out loud. You see, the very first time I came across the haiku form it was at uni. where I was studying Japanese. And of course, it was the famous frog haiku by Basho:

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

To this day I love the sound of those three lines and seventeen syllables flow. They flow, almost like music, and I believe the reason is that in Japanese, each syllable is given its full value. In English, however, the written word is often very different to the spoken sound because we truncate syllables. Just think of that oh-so-Aussie ‘g’day’. ‘Good day’ has two syllables, but how many are there in ‘gday’?

Sadly, this insight merely highlights the fact that I don’t have the skills to make music with the imagery I see in my head. 😦

I may return to the ideas and feel of this little ‘pome’ of mine one day, but for now I’ll stick to what I know best…prose.

Heartfelt thanks to all,



Okay. I do not write poetry, but I’ve always loved the old, traditional Haiku of Japan, so when I needed a title for part 8 of Innerscape, this sort-of Haiku popped into my head:

Condolences like ash,
Softly falling,
The finality of gone

I like it, and it really fits the story, but as a haiku it’s a fail. The total syllables are 17, but their placement is all wrong: 6-4-7 instead of 5-7-5.

My question is this – as I’m writing in English, can I get away with it?



Flash fiction by Joan Childs – a review

I’m no expert on flash fiction, and I certainly never thought I’d ‘review’ a story only 200 words long, but this story really got to me. Not only is it like a prose Haiku – perfect and complete in a tiny package – it also bears a message of love that transcends form. Decide for yourselves:

No Costume Needed
by Joan Childs

Like you, I was born of a dying star. Like you, I was once made of star stuff. Seven billion billion billion atoms of it.

Now I exist in the space between the stars. I see you without my eyes. I touch you without my hands. I love you without my heart.

Except for tonight. All Hallows’ Eve. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium, along with a smattering of other stuff: they all bind to my soul for one night and I walk with you once again. I am part of the cosmos, but just for tonight, I am part of the cosmopolitan.

I have forgotten the formula of how to be flesh, so please bear with me. I have forgotten how to layer skin over muscle. I may have gotten it inside out. I have forgotten the placement of organs and limbs, the texture of hair. I will do my best.

Do not be afraid.

You laugh with your friends.”Trick or Treat!” But I know you feel me near. You look around and beneath your laugh you long for affection, not confections.

You see me. My eyelids are missing, I think, but I can see you. My hand is a few fingers short, but I can touch you. My bloody heart is bulging through my chest, but I love you.

You hold out your hand. With a child’s innocence you see the soul through the stuff of stars.

“Hello Grandpa. I’ve missed you.”

* * *

No Costume Required takes the tired old themes of zombies and All Hallows, and turns them inside out. Or perhaps returns them to their original intent. But purpose is not the point; love and longing are. This story literally made me cry.

The author is Joan Childs and the venue is Indies Unlimited.



Show us your weather blog carnival!

Rain kissed grass

reaching for the sun,

promise of spring.

Here in the great Southern Land, August is the last month of winter and yet when I go out into my garden I see spring in every nook and cranny. I guess the plants didn’t get the memo about the seasons. Can’t say I blame them because it feels like spring to me as well. I can hear the gentle patter of the rain on the roof yet a shaft of sunlight is shining through the clouds, right into my …eye. Damn, time to close the blinds.

In years past, August has always been the month when I come out of my winter hibernation. I squelch out into the crisp, invigorating air and begin grandiose projects that usually involve sculpting my garden with rocks, pebbles and wheelbarrow loads of rich mushroom compost.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in the garden this August but I know I’ll be checking the new strawberry plants I put in and I will be watching the garlic shoot up with hand-rubbing exclamations of joy. Spring, real spring,  may turn out to be a disappointment but the promise of spring is always a delight.

Hugs and thanks to Bluebird Blvd and Buried words and Bushwa for inspiring this post with their ‘show us your weather blog carnival’! As Haiku goes my effort is not great so all I can say to them, and to the shade of Basho,  is “Sumimasen deshita!”

Happy ‘show us your weather blog carnival’ wishes to everyone who participates! If you’d like to wax lyrical about your weather please follow this link. It will take you to Bluey’s carnival page. There is a link on that page to the ‘rules’. Don’t worry, they’re easy to follow!

Have a great weekend everyone. 🙂


%d bloggers like this: