Friday, 24 April 2009

In Defence of Haiku

When I read Jim Murdoch's post about hating haiku recently, I had to agree with a lot of what he wrote. But I also have a reason to love haiku.

I first learnt about haiku on a college course as a mature student when I was about 34. I'd been going through a bad patch after my first husband left me and our two children.

My love life was erratic. I'd had a few dates but couldn't seem to click with anyone. If they wanted to see me again, I wasn't interested, and if I was, they weren't. I was feeling unattractive and uninteresting. At the same time, I was trying to make a happy and comfortable life for my children while pursuing some higher education on a students' grant. (In retrospect, I was so lucky that it was a grant and not a loan as it might be today.)

One evening I found a babysitter and went to listen to some music in my local church. I thought it might be uplifting, but I found it bitter sweet, and in this mood I wandered home along the path by the river in the dark. Selfishly not thinking about my children, I couldn't care less if there was a psychopath around to bump me off. It would have been a happy release. Silly me.

My college assignment to write a haiku drifted into my mind as I looked at the reflection of the moon in the water beside me, and this just popped up in my head.

The moonlight shimmers
as the breeze stirs the water
on a warm June night.

I've never forgotten it. Every time I think of it, I remember my hopeless mood and how fortunate I am to be not still in that place.

Now I write a haiku diary, picking a small moment or event in each day that seems memorable. I always stick to the 5–7–5 syllables but not always the Japanese rules on content. How factual or poetic they are varies a lot but reading them afterwards usually brings back the emotions and feelings along with the memories. I post these in my other blog over at Writelink. Here's a link to the last one in case you'd like to see.

So that's why I love haiku. I couldn't be without them in my life now.


Jena Isle said...

I like haiku too Jean, because it is a short way of expressing my feelings. It also poses a challenge for me because I would have to be concise AND comprehensive simultaneously.

Cheers and happy blog hopping.

MzzLily said...

Writing, in general, does that for me. I'm glad that you are not in 'that place' today.

zorlone said...

Writing a Haiku was one of the first English poems I remember having fun making.

I wrote about my pet dog. That was when I knew i could write. So, I would still go back to writing a haiku every once in a while.

I even made one just now for AC, the link is at my site.

So, I would be one who loves a haiku.


jakill said...

Jena - I agree. For me it is often instilling the essence of a day into a moment.

MzzLily - Many thanks.

Doc - I will definitely be heading over to AC for this when I have a moment.

Shauni said...

This touched my heart.. I have a friend who gives me a Haiku everytime we meet. They have frequently been the only reason in the day that I smile..

But I also agree with Milly it is the act of writing that saves me..

jakill said...

Oh thank you Shauni. May you have lots of haiku that make you smile.

Writing Tip

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