The Haiku workshop by Kala Ramesh at the Pune lit fest was the best part of it.
She spoke about the 5 elements and how progressively they involve our senses, just like haiku involves our 5 senses. Space- eyes, Wind- touch, ears, Fire- eyes, touch, ears, Water- eyes, touch, ears, taste, Earth- eyes, ears, touch, smell, taste.
Zoka, or the creative force of nature, comes through clearly in haiku.
A haiku is open ended like a semi circle, so that a reader can complete it by remembering her experience.
It begins with a static backdrop,a fragment– the first line.
The second and third lines, or phrase- the movement, are joined to the first by a moment. So the scene cuts (kirae) from the first line to the second. There is usually a seasonal reference, or kigo.
There is a sense of oneness with nature and life- satori. In seryu, there is no nature.
We pretended to burst a balloon- never realised how many of our senses are used in doing so! From touch, taste, smell, ear to eye- it covers it all. That little exercise taught us to be more aware of our senses.
Here’s a haiku by Basho-
The sea darkens;
the voices of the wild ducks
are faintly white.
See how he mixes two senses and contrasts colour? He’s one of the four masters of Haiku, as you can see, with good reason.
Here’s another one by him-
In the twilight of dawn
A whitefish, with an inch
Ryokan, a Buddhist monk, wrote this-
the moon in my window
We also read a haiku by Sandi Pray. Here’s an innovative one by John Stevenson-
And one by David Steele-
stuck to the slab
of the frozen f sh
Here’s one closer home by Sunil Uniyal-
Red Fort Delhi –
the guide twirls his moustache
talking Shah Jahan
Then one by Michael McClintock-
A field of poppies!
The hills blowing with poppies!
Here’s one by Alan Summers-
a blackbird hops
along its notes
So the first line of a haiku is short, then there’s a long line, and then again a short one. In total, there are about 9-14 syllables.
Drawing a haiku is a good way of staying on track.
A haiku strives to bring the extraordinary out of the ordinary. No capitals or full stops are to be used, although articles can be used. This helps reaffirm the cycle of life.
Finally, here’s a seryu by Anita Virgil-
An itch on my back
I can’t reach