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A Poetic Look At: Haiku

Kaleidoscope

(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

So…why haiku this time?

Because they are popular, and I love them. Additionally, they are an interesting example of how other languages handle and organize sounds and words into poetry. In English, we use meter. Other languages do not use meter, or do not use it as English does.

But I know about haiku.

That’s great! It helps to build on something that we already know when trying to learn new things.

Okay, so…how do haiku work?

(I know I was taught a fair bit about haiku as a child, but I am going to talk as if you all don’t know many of these things. Therefore no one will be lost or confused.)

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form. Haiku have a single stanza of three lines. Line one is five syllables, line two is seven syllables, line three is five syllables again. This is what most people are taught.

In researching this, I discovered that haiku don’t have three lines when written in Japanese. They have only one; the three lines in English-language haiku point back to the three phrases that haiku have in Japanese.

Syllables, Morae and On

Japanese syllables are not syllables, but on (or morae). Japanese on are all the same length. Stress is more or less the same across all on. Since Japanese is a tonal language, you may hear high-tone on as stress. (Japanese has two tones. The other is low-tone.)

Haiku were once referred to as hokku. They grew out of renku (hokku is still the name for the first verse of a renku poem), and were viewed in that context for a time. In order to truly separate haiku from renku, Masaoka Shiki, a haiku author, suggested the name of haiku (an abbreviation of haikai no ku).

You told me that every poetic form has a recipe. What’s the recipe this time?

On (which we already talked about), a kigo, and the idea of kireji.

Continue reading

There’s Space Everywhere

I see it, I see it
a landscape

(c) Windy Johansen

at once cold
and beautiful
it’s open
there’s space everywhere

(c) Windy Johansen

I see it, I see it
there’s space everywhere

(c) Windy Johansen

little droplets of ice fall
not snowflakes
not stars
frozen earth

(c) Windy Johansen

little wonders of life
don’t stare
don’t close
frozen earth

(c) Windy Johansen

I see it, I see it
a landscape

(c) Windy Johansen

at once cold
and beautiful
it’s open
there’s space everywhere

(c) Windy Johansen

I see it, I see it
there’s space everywhere

(c) 21 January 2013, Windy Johansen.

Bells (All the Wealth)

wailing over housetops
wailing over shipyards
wailing for the nights that hide you
this warfare gives you
the sun you refused to see
all the wealth for you to consume
wailing for the nights that hide you

(c) Windy Johansen

ringing bells, I hear them
ringing bells, sailing over soot
ringing bells, and lonely smoke
ringing bells, why did you replace
ringing bells, your sun?

(c) Windy Johansen

hunting over water
hunting over daylight
hunting for the stars that save you
meteors give you
the earth you refused to save
all the wealth for you to consume
hunting for the stars that save you

(c) Windy Johansen

subsumed bells, I hear them
subsumed bells, sailing over you
subsumed bells, that lonely will
subsumed bells, why did you ignore
subsumed bells, your selves?

(c) Windy Johansen

ringing bells, subsumed bells
hunting for the stars that save you
ringing bells, subsumed bells
wailing for the nights that hide you

(c) Windy Johansen

all the wealth for you to consume
all the bells ringing in my ears

(c) 25 September 2013, Windy Johansen.

Destruction/Creation

a dark road, well traveled
but strangely empty then
a pole, barely noticed
what will happen?
then it hits, and everything seems over

(c) Windy Johansen

creation, an opportunity

(c) Windy Johansen

a bright room, just healing
and strongly fighting now
a pole, bearing treatment
what will happen?
now awake, and everything seems hopeful

(c) Windy Johansen

creation, an opportunity
fascination, a lifelong wish
communication, new life

(c) Windy Johansen

a sweet day, so blessed
that empty road was hope
a pole, keeping balance
what will happen?
now walking, and everything seems better

(c) Windy Johansen

concepts flying, wrapping around
concepts wrapping, embracing
osmosis, flowing through

(c) Windy Johansen

creation, an opportunity
information, a lifelong trek
imagination, new life

(c) Windy Johansen

creation, an opportunity
fascination, a lifelong wish
communication, new life

(c) Windy Johansen

creation, an opportunity
information, a lifelong trek
imagination, new life

(c) 25 September 2013, Windy Johansen.

———
I’m still uncertain of posting poems I’ve only written within the previous week. But this one is an interesting one, I think.

If you think this is a good poem, and then tell yourself how you could never do this…don’t say that to yourself. You can. Your voice has every right to be here, and it can say important and artistic things. We need our creative people. Especially now, but we always need creative people to remind us that complacency is not a particularly agreeable place for anyone to be.

If you hate it…well, I am still learning my craft. I might still get it right. :)

Thanks for spending time here, no matter what. Time is important, and I’m glad you chose to be here. <3

Untitled

it’s an everyday story
we find pain suddenly
but no magic wand exists
and in the halo of a streetlamp
we sleepily, hopefully
slowly discover our solution

(c) Windy Johansen

what can this continuing path,
this continuously wretched path show me?
I won’t fall asleep here

(c) Windy Johansen

it’s an everyday picture
we get free inwardly
and we alone know our pain
yet in the halo of our triumph
we hopefully, gleefully
boldly uncover our sanity

(c) Windy Johansen

what can this reflective path
this reflectively gifted path show me?
I will fly awake here
I will fly awake here

(c) 21 January 2013, Windy Johansen.