Category Archives: Yoko Ono

Deconstructing Haiku

On Sunday it was announced the Yoko Ono was going to judge a British Summer Haiku competition.  The haiku submitted via twitter are being displayed at Kings Cross Station on a giant advertising board, with a fresh one selected every 20 minutes or so.  I have always admired haiku as a form but had not previously tried to write one.   I have been submitting them, but still not sure I have captured their real essence, simplicity, seasonality and sharp emotional interplay.  I would welcome feedback from others on the haiku below.  I have attempted to deconstruct some and put them into context.  However, I am not sure that this is a good idea; should they just be left to stand alone and see how others react to them?   There is a very good piece that describes the form at IP .   Although not absolutely essential the form is normally 5-7-5 syllables over three lines.  It should include a seasonal reference and nature, feelings or experiences.

1

Ducks once in a row

Have now shifted fallen gone

Bring sunshine to me

 

Written after something I thought was all lined up to go right suddenly went wrong, I had a little sob and asked the good people on twitter to send me some positive karma – they did.

2

Bike open mouthed

Swallow does not make summer

Just a very dead fly

 

Possibly too limerick like but as I biked today a fly flew into my mouth and this came to me

 

3

 

Don’t count your chickens

Deep yellow sun warms, bakes, dries

Egg earthward, shattered

 

A bit more profound and following some bad news about a friend.  Dropping an egg on the ground seemed somehow symbolic and the deep yellow of the yolk, with all of its potential wasted.  Also reflecting on how the sun with all of its power can provide warmth which is good and can bake to form bricks, food etc  but can lead to an arid, inhospitable environment.  A reflection on fertility, conception and childbirth.

 

 

4

 

Tartan rug spread out

Cloud spotting for beginners

Making hay after

 

After making hay

Beginners to cloud spotting

Spread out tartan rug

 

Not sure if haiku can come in pairs but I wanted to experiment with a kind of pallendromic structure where changing the order of the words could imply different situations.  Take the phrase making hay anyway you like, from literally working in the fields, to making the most of a good time while you have the chance, to making love.

 

5

 

One fresh red strawberry

Juice drips down chin succulent

Earwig rests inside

 

This is one of my earliest childhood memories.  My grandmother gave me the biggest, lushest strawberry she had grown and when I bit into it there was an earwig inside

 

6

 

Hanging washing out

A gentle breeze is promised

It will pour with rain

 

Sums up that first rush of putting washing out and feeling good that summer is on its way, but too often and several fresh water rinses later it comes back in and goes on the clothes horse.

 

7

 

Blossom fades leaves sway

Adolescence out abroad

Ageing recycle

 

It always disappoints me how quickly blossom fades like the innocence of youth and childhood.  Children grow and start going out and about and eventually leave home.  In our part of Suffolk that seems to start with Friday nights where young people with too few clothes experiment with alcohol.  I used adolescence rather than adolescents as I was also thinking of the 20+ in Ianapa and the 50+ after too much wine at the barbecue.  Plus we all think we invented youth but are just recycling one generation after another.

 

 

 

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