Exquisite sensations evoked from reading well-crafted, inspired haiku move a person tremendously. Ignited from a moment to fill tiny dimensions, evolved by an astute mastery of thought conceived within the brilliant workings of nature, the art of haiku enthrals. Three precious lines, traditionally syllabic, but today without restrictions, the expression, ‘from little things, big things grow’ wonderfully describes the affect of haiku.
At first glance, the impact of what appears to be a simple poem seems almost disproportional. How can a few words imbue all-encompassing feelings—mentally, emotionally and spiritually? How does haiku cause the mind to experience transcending silence whilst contemplating its message? Haiku is a gift that brings us to the present, affording one the sacred opportunity to be still. A profound stillness derived from what could be akin to looking into a deep pond, penetrating its depth.
The bounties of the world and beyond, as well as the manifold riches of life experience, offer us infinite platforms on which to set the stage for haiku art. Animals, plants, and humans were traditionally observed in Japan as creative, vital poets since birth. Japan is the womb and heart of haiku itself, and as written in Ginyu 51, ‘Japanese poetry, as the expression of the truth of the world, was always considered one of the most important aspects of the cosmos. The essence of Japanese poetry is haiku’.
And, the world needs the characteristics haiku so adroitly offers. In an era of humankind’s evolution—a period some describe as the ‘age of the quickening’, haiku steps up to appeal to those of us burdened with increasing time restrictions. It is almost as if haiku is humbly beseeching to a hurried audience yet to be mesmerised by its beauty, ‘all I ask of you is three lines… Three little lines of your time, to pause, and contemplate what I’m saying. Even one line will do’. Portraying aspects of moments so often hidden before our eyes, haiku enhances life’s richness and beauty… colouring the canvas of our minds more brilliantly.
All of us are believed to be vital poets since birth; however, it is only a poet that knows this. If one poet has unlocked the poet within, then there is a poet inside everyone waiting for the moment to emerge. What better enticer is there than a beautifully crafted succinct haiku? The haiku moment is empowered with so much potential glory to whisper to an awakening artist…
I am a poet
Mere reflection on a haiku and our subsequent understanding, opens channels in the mind we are often unaware exists. These channels broaden the spectrum of our psyches and we become more expansive, more creative, well-rounded human beings. A bridge appears in our mind on which we can unite the intangible with the tangible. The impression that a certain incident; scenery; or feeling has on us can be recorded into words that touch world. We live inside out, making privy the recesses of our minds often assumed unreachable and incommunicable by many. Once open, the poet’s perception forms words that convey the wondrous haiku moment.
Haiku is the universal language of love. Such diminutive poems are quite easily translated into various dialects and their meaning is rarely lost in translation. The beauty of contemporary styles enables the freedom of haiku to flow without the limitation of the traditional 5-7-5 syllable format.
The 17 syllable design provides a great foundation to explore one’s synergy with the haiku art form. It is a great starting point to define the style and technique in order to express the content of one’s mind as impressed by nature. Nature and the seasons were haiku’s traditional theme; thus, as humans are also the essence of nature, writing about humans and the human experience in a liberated pattern, justly follows the conventional path.
Haiku expands as one grows as a poet. After accustoming with the standard style of haiku, a poet often wishes to convey without any confines. On realising no standard ultimately exists for writing haiku, the artist metaphorically begins to colour outside of the lines, enabling the style of haiku to express the poet’s heart. As Matsuo Basho advised, ‘learn the rules, and then forget them’.
Despite soaring with wings within haiku’s immeasurable space, the art of writing such precious gems shines brightly using the following approaches: the haiku is generally unrhymed; it illustrates an idea; doesn’t tell a story; uses a keyword, and often ends in a contrast. The poet contemplates his or her muse, condenses the thought, and composes artistic expression.
The haiku’s noble beginning commenced within the great culture of Japan. Three short lines gave birth to a way of thinking that has penetrated minds all over the world, uniting cultures, invoking light and mysticism into our universal hearts.
Once within the domain of this haiku consciousness, one falls in love with its beauty, with its effortless quest of enhancing the common good. The jewels of haiku inspire us to become more acquainted with our own nature by being in harmony with nature itself. Life becomes a new joy, a new experience, bridging all of us at a time when unity is profoundly needed. The world desperately needs as many vehicles as possible to elevate the human spirit. The essence of haiku provides a vitally transformational antidote. We are blessed by the God of Small Things. I bow to the art of haiku…