I don’t recall when it began or exactly what prompted my love for haiku. In elementary school, I learned the basic haiku format and a cursory history. It was then that, as part of a homework assignment, I composed (and unwittingly memorized) my first haiku.
Flowers smell so sweet
Smelling them is a real treat
Go smell a flower
This sounds very much like a poem written by a 9-year-old. Even so, there is something inexplicably powerful about the short, restrictive 5-7-5 format of haiku. Somehow, everything sounds a bit more profound when stated in haiku. Since being considered profound (or at least humorous in my attempts to be profound) is one of my ambitions, I enjoy writing haiku about the mundane, annoying, and/or silly. I know some people feel unnecessarily constrained by the haiku format, but I often find it to be a fun mental challenge. Also, I have a mental list of 5-syllable words that, in case I get stuck, I can use as the last line. And hey, if they don’t relate to the rest of the poem, all the better. That makes it profound and mysterious!** Here are some examples from the list.
Two years ago, I dubbed the month of July “Julaiku” and wrote at least one haiku for every day of the month. I lapsed last year, but I’ve decided to bring Julaiku back for 2016. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to participate by posting your own haiku in the comments.
Haiku for all!
It just so happens that this July begins on a Friday, which means it’s not only Julaiku but also Fri-ku (in other words, it’s a twofer)!
July 1, 2016
Two Julys ago
I wrote haiku for each day
Now, begin anew
* In case you have ever looked at my picture and thought, “Wow, she looks far too young to be as old as she claims to be!” I offer this pop cultural reference as evidence of my membership in Generation X.
** Or pretentious and nonsensical, depending on your viewpoint.