The reaction to my most recent haiku – the most ‘likes’ on any post of mine since I began blogging some 16 months ago – has really inspired me to stop and try to express my thoughts in 17 syllables more often. Of course, over the months I’ve learned that there are many other formats for a haiku, but the rigid discipline of 5-7-5 really appeals to me. In some ways this has similarities to the discipline of writing headlines and advertising copy – part of my professional activity for over 50 years – conveying a thought in very few words. I’ve also learned the importance of that change of thought in the last five syllables.

It all began with a box of photos and a regular blogger of haiku who has since, sadly, disappeared – fivereflections. At the time I came across his haiku below I was sorting through photographs found in a box at my recently deceased mother’s home. Here it is:

from the old locked box
photographs you left behind
my eyes become yours

I found a photograph of a Coronation street party in 1953, and felt ‘my eyes become yours’ – I saw through my mother’s eyes – as the photo showed myself and siblings together with neighbouring children in a play I wrote – it wasn’t my first piece of fiction but it was my first play … and my last.

Picture haiku

The 5-7-5 pattern appealed to me and I constructed a ‘haiku’ with just pictures from the box, though I did feel obliged to pen some lines with it.

However, having a passion for photography, some of my own photographs, and eventually those of others, prompted a haiku as soon as I saw them.

Then it occurred to me that maybe a picture and a haiku could be conceived together, the words and the envisaged image being formed in the mind at the same time. A walk in a church graveyard inspired two.

The ‘rowan tree’ haiku was like this: the tree immediately formed as a picture and haiku together in my mind. However, there was something missing and I had to go back with a camera later to realise what had been missing – sun.

Looking back through my ‘haiku’ posts I thought it would be a good idea to put them all under a ‘haiku’ menu heading, so that is what I have done, but … wait for it …

… I discovered that the rowan tree was the seventeenth haiku I had published, the first from ‘fivereflections’, followed by sixteen of my own.

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