December 5, 2009

Winter Haiku

Because Poets Online fell a bit behind last month, we are offering a second prompt this month.

Quite simply, write one or more winter, year-end haiku.

Traditionally, haiku (in English) have 3 lines: first line, 5 syllables, second line, 7 syllables third line, 5 syllables.

In Japanese, haiku also has three parts, but can be written as one line. And instead of counting syllables, the Japanese count sounds.

Haiku is required to suggest a single season. It might be directly, by using a word like snow or ice for winter, or indirectly, by tone or imagery. In our English translations, many times the season word is actually used, but it would probably not appear in the original.

Deadline for haiku submissions is January 3.

3 haiku by Basho

The sea darkens.
The voices of the wild ducks
turn white.

Winter seclusion:
once again I lean
against this post.

Grasshopper— you
be the cemetery watcher
after I die.

Winter haiku by Issa

The older we get,
the more easily tears come
on a long day.

The winter sun-
on the horse's back
my frozen shadow.

Awake at night,
the lamp low,
the oil freezing.

First winter rain-
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.

When the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
but radishes.

First snow
on the half-finished bridge.

The winter storm
hid in the bamboo grove
and quieted away.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely prompt. How many winter haiku may we submit?

Ken Ronkowitz said...

No limit set. Send a few and we'll select.