Hot Fall Sun hangs low
Cooling breeze ruffles oak tree
Beneath, small boy reads.
And now, as an old man, that boy is still reading. Thanks! –Don Meyer, Bookshare user.
We get a lot of emails from happy users, but never before have we received gratitude in Haiku-form! When we asked Don for permission to post his haiku, he said, “It was very gratifying to find that you, and your team, enjoyed the haiku. As I said to you before, that boy was me. Even now I can still see the sunlight filtering through the oak trees, the shadows, the life that surrounded me as I read poetry under the oaks in front of Crown Point Country School. Even as early as the third grade I had learned to sit quietly and observe everything with the whole of my body, all senses. I did not start to write poetry until my late thirties, though, when, finally, all the bottled up emotions began to emerge. I know, now, that my ‘journey of a thousand miles’ had already begun.”
Born in the early 17th century, Haiku as a literary form was a product of the game Renga in which poets wrote alternating stanzas to create poems with sound unit counts known as “on.” From this pastime grew the three-line, 17-syllable literary form we know it as today. This form of poetry has risen in popularity in the west, though it has come a long way from its beginnings in feudal Japan. Traditional Japanese Haiku tended to focus narrowly on nature, whereas modern Haiku take on a bevy of topics. Take for example Hipster Haiku in which the author rages against her urban setting, a far cry from the outdoor scenes set by Bashō. No matter the topic, Haiku spans the linguistic divide as a universal form of artistic expression.
Haiku books few but varied
For your enjoyment:
Cat Haiku by Deborah Coates
Gay Haiku by Joel Derfner
Haiku: Seasons of Japanese Poetry by Johanna Brownell
Hipster Haiku by Siobhan Adcock.
On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho by Matsuo Basho
Morning Haiku by Sonia Sanchez