Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Haiku and thoughts about language and culture

hours drain from days--
in the sugar maple's hands
a thousand setting suns

I find haiku extraordinary difficult to write. It's a poetic form many in the US are exposed to in primary school in a dogmatic 5/7/5 syllabic structure.

But haiku is much more than that, and much more difficult to capture in the English language. This is not surprising given that the form was developed in Japanese. The structural differences in language between English and Japanese are so massive that it is no wonder that English language haiku is so difficult to write.

Haiku also evolved out of Japanese culture, another point of divergence that affects the poem.

An interesting (and contradictory!) set of 'rules' for English language haiku illustrates just how difficult it is to bend this form to our culture and language.

I hope my little poem honors the haiku heritage, as it honors the way I feel about fall in my New England home.

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