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Untitled - Haiku -- Issa

Guest poem submitted by Sarah:

 Here's one for Minstrels' collection of cat poems...
(Poem #1543) Untitled - Haiku
 After a long nap,
 the cat yawns, rises, and goes out
 looking for love
-- Issa
 (tr. Sam Hamill)

Liberally quoting Martin :) "What I personally like about haiku is the
concentration of the imagery, and the way in which each poem is a
free-floating, perfectly self-contained entity."

In this case, I see a perfectly contented, smug little cat who takes a nap,
languidly stretches herself, and then goes about life. Who knows what she's
looking for - love, a mouse, or just some amusement ?

Minstrels has featured one of Issa's poems, along with the above mentioned
quote, before:
  http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1136.html

Sarah.

39 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

rita liddle said...

It's cute as far as imagery goes, but is it a "Haiku"?

I was told that the construction of a Haiku should go like this:

1. line = 5 syllables
2. line = 7 syllables
3. line = 5 syllables

I was also told (probably by someone even more "demanding") that Haikus in english are not "really" haikus.

Please don't regard this as a critique, but a genuine question.:)

Martin DeMello said...

--- rita liddle wrote:
>
> It's cute as far as imagery goes, but is it a "Haiku"?
>
> I was told that the construction of a Haiku should go like this:
>
> 1. line = 5 syllables
> 2. line = 7 syllables
> 3. line = 5 syllables
>
> I was also told (probably by someone even more "demanding") that Haikus in
> english are not "really" haikus.
>
> Please don't regard this as a critique, but a genuine question.:)

Hi Rita,

The 5/7/5 rule applies to Japanese haiku; 'real' English haiku (insofar as
purists admit they exist :)) attempt to follow the spirit rather than the
letter of the law in that respect. [broken link] http://www.ahapoetry.com/keirule.htm has a
great write-up on the reasons for the structure of Japanese haiku, and how that
structure translates into English.

Incidentally, there is a related Japanese form, the senryu, which follows the
structure of a haiku but relaxes its (many, many) other requirements, and often
has a humorous aspect. It seems to be a fairly common practice to call 5-7-5
English verses senryu, by analogy, since they follow one aspect of a haiku
while neglecting the others.

martin

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Carena's Stryker Hip Recall Blog said...

I think it's just a sort of Haiku. It's short yet gives complete details about the cat

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