Now, in case it's been a couple of years since you thought about this form of poetry, let me refresh your memory a bit.
Haiku poems often feature juxtaposition of two images.
- Nature and the seasons. Describing the season was the original purpose of haiku, and to this day poets often focus on the natural world and how it changes throughout the year.
- On. A Japanese haiku contains 17 on, or sounds. On are counted differently than syllables in English, which leads to translators’ lack of consensus on whether 17 English syllables truly captures the spirit of haiku.
- Kigo. Traditional haiku contains a kigo, a word or phrase that places it in a particular season. Signaling a season with only one word lends haiku its economy of expression. Some of the most classic kigo are sakura (cherry blossoms) for spring; fuji (Wisteria) for summer; tsuki (moon) for fall; and samushi (cold) for winter.
- Kireji. Known in English as the “cutting word,” kireji creates a pause or a break in the rhythm of the poem. The kireji is often deployed to juxtapose two images. Contemporary haiku may not always use a kireji, but juxtaposition remains a common feature of haiku.
Staying with the water theme, I watercolored my focal image using watercolor pencils and watercolors since July is Watercolor Month!
So, how are you inspired by this challenge? Come share your ideas with us at Cut It Up!