{National Poetry Month} On Nature & Haiku

On Nature and Haiku by Natalya Lawren {guest writer}

Haiku: “A Japanese poetic form usually consisting, in English versions, of three unrhymed lines of 5,7, and 5 syllables. […] The English spacing tries to replicate the aural effects of the Japanese” (3 metrical units or lines). “The haiku, invariably written in the present tense, almost always refers to a time of day or season, focuses on a natural image, and captures the essence of a moment. Its goal: a sudden insight or spiritual illumination. R.H. Blythe states, ‘A haiku is an  open door that looks shut.'” Blythe suggests that “its peculicar quality is its self-effacing, self-annihilative nature, by which it enables us, more than any other form of literautre, to grasp the thing-in-itself.” A Poet’s Glossary, pp 272-3

Senryu: “has the same structure as the haiku. But whereas the haiku deals with nature, the senryu deals with human nature. It is often satiric and treats human foibles. The haiku, on the other hand, seeks the momentary and the eternal.” A Poet’s Glossary, p 273

Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the making of this article (except for the construction paper…. yeah, sorry about that).

we lease our mood to

the weather; arthritic bones,

news from weathermen

nate haiku 2

As Spring begins (and in Colorado it snows and snows), some things are starting to bloom. Some things are starting… not to. And this is my tragic attempt (ala Charlie Brown) of decorating a tree. Becoming one with nature… or not quite.

I blame the public school system for ruining our early experience of Haikus with explanations along the lines of “creative enough to count as creative writing but short and unobtrusive enough to our tastes.” Because of this, many people cringe at the association of Haikus. We read them with some strange stilted emphasis on the syllables as if we’re trying to prove our key ability to make short lines, and we often do not write them about nature.

Frustrated digression aside, I am seeking to create spaces in which I can express poetry in different ways in celebration of National Poetry Month. I challenge others to do the same in a style called “Poetry Sabotage” (a term developed by the creative writing department in my school). Whether this is creating an installation of your own, or simply taping up copies of a poem you love around a building, this is to promote more reading and diversity to how poetry is expressed. Reclaim some unnatural spaces with contemplations of the presence of nature in ourselves, our lives, our surroundings.


He fell from the sky

with words of heaven he snatched,

stuffed into pockets.

He believes in God:

his hands held up to the sky

head tilted back, prays.

His father said that

no one knows what is above

the clouds, from this earth

but snow’s fallen,

it is here and true enough,

a message, cipher.


Please participate, and feel free to share poems and pictures of where you put them in the comments below or at omphaloskepsis[at]stonhaus[dot]com.


thoughts? would love to hear them...

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