Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Poetry Podcast: A short and sweet haiku by Richard Hill

I can't think of a better way to end a year of podcasts than with this little beauty.

This poem was an entry in a haiku contest by the Detroit Free Press. The prize was a M.A.C. cosmetics giveaway.

However, this was not the winning entry. But, in my opinion, it should have been.

It was written by Richard Hill of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Listen to the poem here:

Although haiku is typically thought of as a simple form of poetry, it is quite the opposite.

According to Wikipedia, "Haiku, is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively.

"Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables. This is inaccurate, as syllables and moras are not the same.

"In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line and tend to take aspects of the natural world as their subject matter, while in English,
often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku, and may deal with any subject matter.

"Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century.

A mora is a linguistic term for a "unit of sound ... that determines syllable weight, stress and timing in some languages."

In its Japanese form, haiku contains a kigo -- a seasonal reference -- and a kireji -- a "cutting word."

Kireji doesn't have an English equivalent. At the end of a verse, it provides a "dignified ending." When used in the middle of a verse, it briefly "cuts" the stream of thought to indicate a pause and add emotion.

I'm printing Richard's haiku below. Make a copy, put it on a post card and mail it to a friend. It's a simple, yet personal, way to send a seasonal greeting.

May your stars twinkle

May your tranquility glow

this season of peace

-- Richard Hill
Sault St. Marie, Mich.

1 comment:

  1. Wikipedia has a better definition of haiku thank goodness because a number of haiku poets have updated it.

    Also, for a simple overview of haiku praised by Japanese and American haiku writers check out:
    what is haiku?

    Alan, With Words