Paper Airplanes & Haiku

Good morning everyone!

I’m up before the sun today, but it’s slowly getting out of bed. Our weather’s been up and down for most of the winter, but the forecasters are telling us now that we’re in for a spell of -20 to -30 C, such as you’d expect in February here on the prairies.

A great time to stay home, but our comfy conveyances are so handy nowadays. Not like in Grandma’s day when the rare trip to town meant piling into the old sled (sleigh?) with warm stones at their feet and bouncing across frozen fields. These cold snaps were when moms and grandmas circa 1900 darned the socks, patched clothes, wrote letters, and got their quilting done.

But here I am this morning, hopping around the globe via the internet to pop in on poets in Australia, Mexico, Britain and the US. I’ve read Frank Prem’s new book of poetry and his request for pre-pub readers and reviewers, then shared a fishy limerick with Kristian.

Now I’ve finished an interesting article on Objective Hokku written by David from I-assume-the-US. He explains that Objective Hokku is simply a reflection, via the poet, of what it there, making no comparisons, offering no personal opinion or interpretation. I’ll take a stab at it:

Winter morning.
The cat curled up
In the office chair.

You get the immediate picture and some sense of coziness. This verse doesn’t tell you that the office chair is mine and I should be in it, that because I’m too soft to dump the cat out, I’m sitting beside it on a hard-seated folding chair typing this. 🙂

The poem below is haiku, because it definitely leads you to a conclusion about my reading habits. 😉 Actually it’s more of a senryu, a haiku which makes a wry comment on human nature.

all the books
I hope to someday read
paper airplanes

And this even more so:

high pressure system
distant cousins arrive
family picnic drenched

Even though I’m not into the deeper significance of haiku and hokku, I do enjoy these “snapshot” verses. I hope you do, too.

14 thoughts on “Paper Airplanes & Haiku

  1. I’m curious, in the Hokku are you limited to the number of syllables? Haiku generally being 5-7-5…
    DIdn’t realise the senryu is more of a wry version of the haiku.
    Man, I am learning so much today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine that would be the maximum syllables allowed, but English writers tend to make some exception for the language differences. With genuine hokku, you must have a seasonal word, though.
      And from what I’ve read, senryu tends to make some comment on human nature.There’s a lot to learn and dedicated writers of this form can teach much more than me. But thanks for your encouraging comment, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean the 5-7-5 maximum syllables per line guideline. However, there’s tanka, which is 5-7-5-7-5
        Here’s an example from my files:

        Beside the Dumpster

        the cafe is full
        people eat, drink, talk, laugh—
        out beside the dumpster
        a hungry street kid, waiting
        shivers in the dark

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry for my confusion. I don’t really know the “rule” there. I read hokku and read about hokku, but have never written any. I know, though, that every line starts with a capital letter and punctuation is our normal, like older English poetry.


      3. Senryu really came into its own by the rebels of society who were bored by the stiffness of haikai verses (hokku included), and there’s not rules as such, except it’s natural to fall into a rhythm of 5+7 and 5+7+5 (even with traffic signs and wet floor warning signs). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Dave Coomler is from the USA and has been a long advocate of hokku, and stating that Basho wrote them, not haiku, which came about as late as the 1890s, way after Matsuo Basho.

    Writing really objectively is a good challenge sometimes, as too often we pile on the sentiment, and as a practice it’s good to step back.


    Winter morning.
    The cat curled up
    In the office chair.

    It’s unusual to make a haiku into two sentences, but other than that, I feel more warmth from this verse than from ones who overdo the sentimentality. I’m also allowed to interpret this in my own way, and love the idea of a writer up so extremely late it’s actually the wee small hours, or even closer to breakfast time, and the cat is taking advantage of a long warmed chair in a home office. 🙂 Or even weirdly, although there was a practice once, somewhere, where office workers were allowed to bring in pets, someone turns up early or on time despite the harsh weather, and finds a cat in their open plan office, like Goldilocks finding the seat just right! 🙂

    Yes, this could be said to be senryu, but lots of haiku journals would publish it happily! 🙂

    all the books
    I hope to someday read
    paper airplanes

    Two great ‘haikai’ verses! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again for your comments and helpful instructions. The “cat in chair” happens so often at this desk. 🙂 Worse yet, I may just roll away the office chair and set up a folding chair for myself, then go to the kitchen for a coffee and come back to find our OTHER cat on the folding chair! Why-oh-why?


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