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.