Monday, April 9, 2012


Everyone knows that a traditional Japanese haiku is based on the number of syllables over three lines (5, 7, 5), but did you also know that haiku almost always have some reference to nature? What I love about this is that it isn't just talking about nature for the sake of saying something is pretty, but to make some kind of observation. Because they are so short, they have to pack a punch. The shortness also means it's nice and easy to reread multiple times to really see beyond the words.

Here is an example by the famous Basho Matsuo (1644-1694):

Bush clover in blossom waves
Without spilling
A drop of dew.

However, that doesn't mean haiku have to be stuffy. Check out this one by Issa, who lived from 1763-1827:

Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house

The syllables don't work out exactly because of the translation, but I find it comforting and a little bit hilarious that people across the world over 200 years ago had the same problem I have!

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