Celebrating National Haiku Day with a poem: ‘Is this a haiku?’

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William Bennett/Staff

When considering

the haiku as poetry

shorter than the rest—

 

Remember this rule:

Syllables — five-seven-five

(Your own haiku test.)

 

Today, most haikus

Can be about anything

(Whatever looks best.)

 

Traditionally,

Haikus were about nature

(Before they came west.)

 

Haikus are supposed

To describe a moment where

The poet would rest.

 

When he took the time

To look around him and saw

A bird in its nest.

 

Basho was the king

Of haikus in his own time

(His poems were blest.)

 

You may disagree

With this new, longform haiku

Or find it a jest.

 

“That’s not how it’s done!”

You cry so indignantly

To stop my own test.

 

“You’re right,” I’ll admit.

“First, it’s not in Japanese

And rhyming, a pest.

 

However, it’s close

(Or closer) to Pound’s attempts

In the English quest.”

 

I might do better

To compare this haiku to

A red robin’s breast.

 

And if you think now

You’ve got a better haiku

Please, friend, be my guest.

Contact Lauren West at [email protected].