Monday, July 22
Because these are summer days, and because lately these summer days have been spent in a haze of heat and more heat, I ask you this week to take a break from longer writing and capture a simple moment.
In that simple moment, write a haiku. Buddhist monks in Japan created the form, to emphasize mindfulness. If you are sitting at your computer trying to remember the elements of haiku, fret not: a standard Japanese haiku is three lines. The first and last have five syllables. The middle has seven.
Here’s an example:
“Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
With no leaves to blow”
Try the standard rendition, or try the Americanized haiku, which like so many Americans, disregards the rules but remains true to the crux of the idea:
By Jack Kerouac:
Of Oklahoma look
In every direction.”
Or the wonderful writer Richard Wright:
“In the falling snow
a laughing boy holds out his palms
Until they are white.”
Write one, write a few. Many haiku focus on animals or weather, in part because animals and weather give us movement, a reason to use a verb clause in a space where movement is embraced.
Next Monday, read your haiku aloud to yourself – or anyone who will listen. If you are a Candlelighter or about to be, send it along to me. I’d be delighted to read it.