Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home inspection day haiku

Every time they screw up
your local Bank of America
will need 30 more dollars.

That beautiful tree,
so shady in your new yard
grew roots in your sewer line.

Every inch of kitchen
reveals a fancy surprise
how do I use this faucet?

Sitting on the floor
hands on the hardwood.
The bed will go here.


  1. that was fucking awesome.

    ..."Every inch of kitchen
    reveals a fancy surprise
    how do I use this faucet?"


  2. Home Depot, your church
    your paycheck is a memo
    ry but hey nice door!

  3. Anonymous3:03 PM

    I'm in platonic love.

  4. Um... I'm not an English teacher, but a Haiku is supposed to be 17 syllables or less (traditionally, in phrases of 5-7-5).

  5. I teach Haiku in my English class every semester.

    Yes, traditional Haiku is 5-7-5. Haiku is also traditionally written in Japanese, which has fewer syllables per word. I don't write in Japanese. Haiku also traditionally does not include references to self, but is more about observations about the world around you.

    This is not traditional haiku. It is modern haiku, which allows for a more flexible syllable count and references to self and can be written in English.

  6. Okay, granted. But even in English it's still supposed to be 17 syllables or less, no? I thought the whole "defined by it's limitations" was the most important part?

    It's hard to convey tone in text, so believe me when I say I'm not trying to play devil's advocate, merely trying to learn more about Haiku. Is there any definition to modern Haiku? Can modern it be thirty syllables? What then defines it as Haiku and not just free verse?

  7. It's still always three short lines, usually with some kind of punchy line at the end.

    If you want to be exact, yes, Haiku has 5-7-5. But because that is the Japanese rule and Japanese is a lot tighter with its syllables, you can adjust them within a couple of syllables. It's a good idea to keep the middle line longer than the other two, but I've seen Haiku disobey that rule too.

    If you were to write a textbook example of original Japanese Haiku, you would be writing 17 syllables in 5-7-5 form as a snapshot of an image using nature words without reference to self.

    Very few Haiku these days read that way. If you want an example of well done Haiku, Zombie Haiku is a book of Haiku written by a zombie, and he does indeed write in the traditonal 5-7-5 form.

    But as for your question about what makes Haiku Haiku, I'd say it's the three line simplicity. You know it when you hear it. It has a pattern and a simple image to describe. The syllables can't go off the rails. For example, you can't have 9-27-8. That would make no sense. But 4-8-6 is okay.


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