What is Haiku?

  Haiku is a precise form of poetry from Japan. In Japanese, it has exactly 17 characters but there are excellent translations in English that at least somewhat capture the concise, open, beautiful nature of haiku. Many English speaking  people have also created haiku and there are many haiku contests following strict definitions to create this art form:

1. Using no more than 17 syllables.
2. Arranging these often in lines of 5-7-5 syllables 
3. Avoiding similes and metaphors 
4. Retaining Japanese values 
masters of haiku are Bascho (1644-1694), Issa (1763-1827), Buson (1716-1783) and Shiki (1866-1902)

   Everyone has their favorite haiku. Here are some of mine but there are many rescources for Haiku on the Web. 

  I have also collected some beautiful landscape photographs, screens, and paintings from Japan and Korea to enhaunce the reader's enjoyment of the haiku.



                  Heron's cry
                  Stabs the darkness



  Sick on a journey:
     Over parched fields
     Dreams wander on.

     The autumn full moon:
     All night long
     I paced round the lake.

     At the white face of the child
     In the mosquito net.


 Temple bells die out.
 The fragrant blossoms remain.
 A perfect evening!



   At the over-matured sushi,
       The Master
       Is full of regret.

     A whale!
     Down it goes, and more and more
     Up goes its tail!

     In my old home
     Which I forsook, the cherries
     Are in bloom.

   No sky
   No earth - but still
   Snowflakes fall

     A giant firefly:
     That way, this way, that way, this -
     And it passes by.

     My grumbling wife -
     If only she were here!
     This moon tonight...

     A lovely thing to see:
     Through the paper window's hole,
     The Galaxy.
     First full moon of the year 
     And it's trapped 
     In a bare tree!
               -Bill Wyatt
  A mountain village
     Under the piled-up snow
     The sound of water.

     Even the bees
     Can't take it - curling up
     In the summer heat
          -Bill Wyatt

     The whole family
     All with white hair and canes
     Visiting graves
  He says a word,
  And I say a word-Autumn
  Is deepening.
  The moon so pure
     A wandering monk carries it
     Across the sand

     The morning paper
     Harbinger of good and ill
     I step over it

     Behold the ego
     Set in glowing emptiness
     On the edge of time
Haiku contributions:

   A sonorous voice:
   "Quit the night and seek the day!"
   Suddenly, I see.

   ~James Wells, Toronto, Ontario
    James' website: http://www.workeroforacles.com
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