Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Haiku #18 and Living with Form

Waiting for the Bus

In the absence of
snow, our bodies cave inward,
shrinking from the cold.


I've been writing these haiku very sporadically for the past eleven months, and I've noticed something about living with a form. While my goal is 100, I'm taking my time getting there, because I'm waiting for the right image. It feels like I have an invisible set of antennas that are attuned to only the ideas that will slide inside the form.

For haiku, you need to have seventeen syllables (5-7-5) and traditionally they contain a reference to the season. It's this last bit that's been challenging. I feel like certain seasons are more conducive to haiku than others. (Summer was pretty dead for me, despite all the time I spent reveling in the sunshine.) I think that the seasonal element needs (for me) to have an emotional resonance, and I just seem to find more within Spring, Fall, and Winter.

But now, as I go into my second winter of haiku-ing, I'm finding that my winter imagery is changing. I'm spending more time outside (due to my bus commute) and less time observing from the window of my car or condo. Even as I write the poems, it feels different. I'm now participating in the cold, rather than just observing it. I'm hoping that this shift in perspective comes through in the poems.

I also wonder how other poets who participate in a commitment to a traditional form react to this experience. Sometimes it feels like I'm reading the same book over and over again. In some ways, it's positive because I'm learning new inflections and resonances. But in other ways, I'm just juggling the same words (or images) around.

1 Comment:

Paul said...

Haiku are verbal Zen !!