Monday, April 08, 2024

1/4 April Haiku

It's National Poetry Month! 

I've trying to write a haiku for every day this month. 

Haiku has become such an interesting form to me (since reading Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows, which contains such wonderful discussion on Basho). What children are taught in elementary schools about stringent syllabic patterns—and, perhaps, that the poem should have something to do with nature—is woefully inadequate, not to mention slightly misleading. While the three-line rule seems to be sticking rather firmly, the 5-7-5 rule is work well in English. Syllables don't matter as much as ideas because in Japanese the poems don't contain 17 syllables but seventeen on. A good haiku makes an observation about the world by means of a surprising very few syllables.

(Read more about haiku here, here, or here, or wherever).

So, no—my haiku don't always have 17 syllables. That said, they don't always contain a surprising twist either.

I didn't promise every day's haiku would be a good haiku, did I? 

My purpose, I suppose, is to tell little stories about each day, to remember the month by. So far it's been a gloriously good month for haiku—so much has been happening with nature!

April 1

earth warms—creatures wake,
slink and worm their way inside
the boy's pants—"A skink!"

April 2

I rub summer whiffs
of sunscreen on her face—
"Can we go to the pool?"

April 3

disowned yoghurt pot,
scuttling across the front porch—
opossum's treasure

April 4

radish globes swell
beneath sun-warmed soil—
small, spicy apples

And a bonus poem!

an abandoned shed
found deep in the back-backyard—
rutting weapon dropped

April 6

yellow daisy
tucked into red clay,
hailed by hover flies

And a bonus poem!

pea tendrils twirl
moonward; hewn down by
midnight scavengers

April 7

a cousin call:
they show each other things, laugh—
friendly strangers

April 8

craning my neck—
to see me, the moon, the sun
in syzygy

I'm not sure I'm satisfied with today's haiku, so don't be surprised if there's a bonus one later (I suppose today's poem was already a bonus one for this post because April 8 is the start of the second week of April), but I was just excited to use the word syzygy in a poem. 

I often (or at least sometimes) write my drafts in a notebook in cursive and I must tell you that syzygy is delightful to write in cursive. 

There's a joke about how chinchilla looks when spelled in cursive in Cyrillic. The joke is basically that it's this mess of...illegibility (except that it is legible; it's шиншилла):

It's not a word that I've used a ton in Russian, but it's certainly a fun word to think about. 

Syzygy is not a word that I've used a lot in English, but it's certainly been a fun word to think about today brings that same chinchilla energy:

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