(A reprint from February 7, 2012)
A haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry characterized by three qualities:
1. There are three stanzas of 5, 7 and 5 syllables;
2. There are two well-defined images (with a kireji or “cutting word” between them); and
3. The subject is usually drawn from the natural world (often seasonal).
The most famous composer of haiku poetry was Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). He was the grand poet of the Edo period and his poetry has achieved international renown. His works frequently appear on Japanese monuments and at traditional Japanese sites. Basho’s most famous (and probably the best known example of) haiku was “The Old Pond.”
Ka-wa zu to-bi-ko-mu
Mi-zu no 0-to
A frog leaps in
A haiku can be a poignant teaching tool for students since it requires structure, thought, concentration and result.
“The Winter Squirrel” by Renaissance Hombre
A squirrel sits still
His tail begins to move
And away he goes
Move over Mister Basho. . . . .