Friday, December 14, 2018


I'm continuing to join a whole crew of December hopefuls in Tweeting daily haiku.  Here are mine for the last week, and while I keep trying to hew to some basic tenets of traditional haiku, circumstances continue to drain my self-discipline so that the best I can do is to write something, never mind according to any rules.

What are those rules?  I often turn to my friend Robyn Hood Black for haiku inspiration, because

empty window
the last of her fur
in the lint trap

 ©Robyn Hood Black
Frogpond 40:3, Autumn 2017

which just goes to show you don't even need  5-7-5, but today I'm reviewing a bit of guidance from The Academy of American Poets:

Among the greatest traditional haiku poets are Basho, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa, and Masaoka Shiki. Modern poets interested in the form include Robert Hass, Paul Muldoon, and Anselm Hollo, whose poem “5 & 7 & 5” includes the following stanza:

     round lumps of cells grow
     up to love porridge later
     become The Supremes                                          [my goodness, how I love this]

Haiku was traditionally written in the present tense and focused on associations between images. There was a pause at the end of the first or second line, and a “season word," or kigo, specified the time of year.

As the form has evolved, many of these rules—including the 5/7/5 practice—have been routinely broken. However, the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment and illumination.

As you'll see in my week's work, each of my haiku has one or two of the traditional elements, but I don't think any one has all of them.

Dec. 8

is this a place where
only those survive who are

 Dec. 9

dead brown living green
hanging somewhere in between
wise bud of waiting

Dec. 10

single string of
tiny lights twines up trunk
strives at crescent moon

Dec. 11

full-on sweat-soaked battle
scrambling bodies slap the mat
purity of wrestling

Dec. 12

two holes show hidden joins
present hearts, everyone

Here are two where I try to get at all the markers of classic haiku.  Let's see if it makes a difference....

Dec. 13

still a week to go
weary feet make for the car
frozen lawn sparkles                               

Dec. 14

lot full of tiny trees
our car the polar opposite
of Grinch's sleigh

Okay, ONE where I try to get all the markers!  Yep, the self-discipline is definitely a little flabby. I'm sure the round-up this week will be toned and taut over at Laura Shovan's blog, where she's featuring a book by a mutual friend of ours from Maryland, Jona Colson.  Wishing you all more merry, more bright.


  1. I would say your weary feet did meet the challenge, Heidi. It has the simple language of haiku, and the contrasting elements - with the twist at the end - and the freeze gives a clue to timing. And the element of nature, too. Tick, tick and ticking boxes! :) (It was my fave - though your fairy lights ticked lots of classic boxes, too. :) )

  2. Haiku is HARD! I love your dedication to the classic here... I've heard Robyn say it's "subtle. Haiku is subtle." It is! And I think we who write other kinds of poetry tend toward language and poetic devices that are... flashier? Thanks for sharing your beautiful words, Heidi. xo

  3. I know your 'teaching' feet make 'weary feet' indeed, Heidi. I do try at this writing, but it may be a lifetime of it. I do love your image of the tree lot, brings back a scene in my memories. Thanks for the reminding tips, too.

  4. A week to go, my feet are weary and my arms are empty. Love having all your haiku-ish poems here to enjoy.

  5. Thanks for sharing your bounty on haiku writing, Heidi. I am bookmarking all of them. Dec. 13th's haiku I can relate to the opening for sure. Unfortunately, I do not have a frozen lawn that sparkles ( just a rainy soaked one) but I do have sparkly items on my porch to mark the season.

  6. Heidi, that wrestling haiku is perfection. I love the idea of a daily poem practice and haiku is a great form to do it with. Do you feel yourself settling into the energy of the form?

  7. I love Ilhan Omar's tweet. THAT idea give me hope!

    Amen to everything in this post -- trying for the form, but sometimes just glad to get some words down. (Plus forgiveness if I miss a day or two...)

  8. Fabulous post and much inspiration. I've been chugging along this month, knowing I need to consider the nuances, but settling for the practice and production. I appreciate the reminders and so enjoy your haiku. The weary feet one really resonated.

  9. Heidi! Thank you for the nod, my friend. I was going to say sorry for being "late" to this post, but then I might have missed out on some of these comments, and I love reading what each of these poet friends has responded! (I think we're all in the "weary feet" boat together - ha!) Thanks so much for sharing your poems. My FAVE is the Dec. 14 one (which was my mother's 80th BDay, btw) - that 'polar opposite' is pretty brilliant.

  10. Your last haiku sings for me Heidi, love these lines
    "our car the polar opposite
    of Grinch's sleigh"
    And I like Mary Lee's take on haiku "glad to get some words down." And "forgiveness…"


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!