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Thread: How to Haiku 3: writing haiku

  1. #1

    How to Haiku 3: writing haiku

    You Zen folk have a head start on this! Haiku often take images from nature and compare them to Buddhist concepts of impermanence and other notions. This is the case in Basho’s poem which reflects both the futility of war and the fact that once proud warriors grow old even if they do not fall in battle.

    There is an importance of observing tiny details in nature and life and combining what is happening to trees, plants and animals with what is going on in your own life. The reflection of inner and outer worlds is often what gives a haiku its power and poignancy.

    So, please, give it a try and write a few poems. Spend some time in silence, preferably in nature, if only your garden, and see what images come up. Note them down and see if they suggest a verse. You can also write from imagination but direct experience in the moment is great and fits with our Zen practice.
    I will try and comment on as many as I can. My one rule is NO 5-7-5. This is to get away from syllable counting.

    Here are a few more examples to give you an idea of what we are aiming at. The fragment and phrase should be clear in each:

    begging bowl
    a crack in the pavement
    grows dandelions

    -- Kokuu

    snow melt
    the village overflows
    with children

    -- Kobayashi Issa

    summer’s end
    the numbness

    -- Helen Buckingham

    my hut in spring
    there is nothing in it
    there is everything

    -- Sodō

    Bermuda triangle the mystery in your touch

    -- Tim Gardiner

    mountain pheasant
    treading on its tail
    spring’s setting sun

    -- Yosa Buson

    These are some of my other favourite poems from modern and traditional writers:

    Suggested reading
    Haiku techniques
    Fragment and phrase theory
    Zen and the Art of Haiku
    Writing and Enjoying Haiku (book)
    A Zen Wave by Robert Aitken (Rinzai Buddhist teacher Robert Aitken, who wrote The Mind of Clover that we use in precept study, looks at the haiku poetry of Matsuo Basho from a Zen perspective)

    You can find more books and articles on my haiku website.
    Last edited by Kokuu; 04-03-2019 at 12:45 PM.
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  2. #2
    Thank you Kokuu!! Wonderful teachings that make it sound doable. I'm looking forward to practicing and reading everyone else's efforts here.

    清 道 寂田
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  3. #3

    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

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