By Diane E. Boker
Lucky for me that (5)
I think in pentameter. (7)
It can be a game. (5)
In September of 2020, several members of Montana Women Writers met via Zoom for a word-lover play date (a.k.a. the monthly meeting). The activities were led by member, Barbara Schiffman, a recent haiku enthusiast.
You probably already know that a haiku is a poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five. Traditional Japanese haiku focuses on the seasons and observations of nature and is in present tense. According to Barbara, “modern haiku has no limits to subject and doesn’t need to be somber. You can be humorous, satiric, ironic or even silly.” For silly, see my example above. She pointed out that working on haiku is great training to tighten prose, to be concise, to find the exact word to evoke the feeling a prose writer is trying to express.
We created some haiku on the fly with prompts from Barbara and really surprised ourselves. We even wrote some collaboratively, with one member throwing out the first line and others adding line two and three. It was exhilarating.
You can try it too. Here are some suggestions to write about:
- Something you ate today
- The pandemic
- The weather
- Your pets
- A summary of your book
Speaking of the pandemic, there is a Face Book page dedicated to haikus about the pandemic. Check it out:
I am going to contribute the one below, based on a random comment heard from the mom of a fifteen-year-old:
Dawning on the boy, (5)
All snow days are lost to Zoom. (7)
Unforeseen results. (5)
And here are two more that I came up with after the MWW play date:
Karma is a bitch, (5)
They say. And here we are caught (7)
Choking, cloaked in smoke. (5)
Try to be normal, (5)
All the while knowing that you (7)
Are simply the light. (5)
Now, go have some fun yourself.