Old Oaks of Sherwood Forest

Some Haiku

I’m always a bit worried about posting poetry because it’s not really a poetry blog. It seems a little unfair to force people to read poetry if they haven’t signed up for it, particularly as people feel obliged to be nice. That’s why I rarely post poetry that hasn’t been published elsewhere first. At least that way, it has been filtered by a proper editor and should be OK.

However, a while ago I did say that I would post a few, so here are a few haiku and senryu to start.

Three lines and a web of rules/definitions/restrictions don’t really suit me. I’d love to be a competent writer of haiku, but I’m locked in a circular system with them. I find them difficult so I don’t write many, and because I don’t write many I don’t improve. It’s also why I struggle with haibun too, as I can write the prose, but can’t nail the haiku. They are, as I say in an unpublished essay on writing haiku, slippery. Give me a tanka, with five lines and freedom from restrictions and I find it a lot easier. The same goes for Tanka Prose, the clumsy name for the Haibun equivalent that uses a tanka in place of the haibun.

I suppose if I were a serious poet, I would accept the challenge of haiku but I actually write for the pleasure of seeing words do things, not because I like difficulty.

Here are a few with a vaguely Christmas/Winter theme. The first has been adapted from a senryu that originally had the first line “Birthday” but it still works.

bright paper packages
-the disappointment of socks

Failed Haiku April 2022

melting snow
rooks stalk
the dappled field

Presence Issue 69

a robin
sings from the blackthorn
we queue for the shop

Wales Haiku Journal Spring  2021

lighter nights
the bus passenger smiles
on his way home

Presence Issue 72

I put them in two columns to make the layout slightly more interesting, but it has the effect of altering the formatting for the ones that  are in the second row. Many people do centre their poems so I think I can get away with it. I tried using three columns but that involves right hand justification and that definitely looks odd. I’m sure there’s another way to do it but I’m not sure I have the spare thought capacity to devote to it at the moment. I have ten poems to submit before in the next 38 hours and they aren’t cooperating.

Robin of Sherwood

4 thoughts on “Some Haiku

  1. Anonymous

    So let’s say that I like the impact of each haiku – which I do. But when I was younger and met them I was told there was a 5. 7. 5 structure. Does that not hold anymore.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      No. It’s still there at the top if you look up haiku on the internet but it hasn’t been a requirement for many years. There are specialist writers who write single liners and at least one that insists on using four.

      Generally if it has three lines, a shift between the two parts (made by punctuation or use of language in English) and a nature reference it will pass. Senryu are similar but with reference to human nature. For a form with three lines it has a lot of rules and conventions, but 5,7,5 has been allowed to fade away.

      The guidelines of the BHS are halfway down this page – http://britishhaikusociety.org.uk/journal/

      I don’t actually understand them all but you will get the general idea.


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