Haiku Highlights

Basho by Basho by Sugiyama Sanpû (1647-1732)Image via Wikipedia

Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a course on haiku for Women on Writing.  In the course, we discussed the art of writing traditional haiku, using the 5-7-5 beats per line as well as American or English haiku that doesn't worry about beats or measures, just the use of as few words as possible to create a clear and interesting word picture. We took a look at the history from the origins in Zen Buddhism to the Beat Poets.  Then, we wrote.

We used prompts to stimulate the writing.  The prompts were both visual and textual.  The results blew me away!
Some of the textual prompts were:

Hanging laundry
• Train whistle blowing on a winter night
• Wind chimes in spring storm
• Crickets by the hearth
• Scattered pumpkins in a field
• Early morning sounds
• Sounds at midnight
• Smell of apple pie or cinnamon cookies
• Smell of hay
• Taste of hot soup on a cold day
• Baby asleep on your chest
• Feel of pet's fur

Visual prompts were taken from Wikimedia Commons and included a beach scene, children playing in the snow, a rose in the snow, moonlight over Boston skyline, workers standing in a circle at a plant and children running towards a building.

Here are the poems written by two of my students with their permission.

Haiku by Pat Crandall
that great blue sea
beach-goers loll on velvety sand
cliff rock sentinels

pink crocuses bloom
in a field of sunlight-
a gateway to spring

a crimson rose-
its snow-capped beauty delights
storm unexpected!

opening camp porch
gusts of swirling wind and snow-
the sound of new chimes

spiky red hair
full of vitality
new wave of mommy

full circle
for what objective
these tense men

wee rooftop garden
a lone bench comes into view
sweltering city

schoolchildren streaming
into barren enclosure-
fear pierces young hearts

Haiku by Renee Howard Cassese

yellow goslings
huddle around mother
speckled feather tent

autumn leaves
winding red path
tunnel of trees

white crop circles
hidden messages
in crystal snow

white tee shirts
ghosts of her husband
she won't throw away

What a pleasure it has been to watch the development of these poems.  Some of the images have brought me to tears. 

May the simplicity of haiku bring word pictures that delight, inform, enlighten and dance in your memory.


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