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Summer Haiku

July 2018

While we were on vacation this month, we offered a small prompt on the blog and some of you took us up on the offer. of posting a summer haiku on the blog as a comment.

We have written on the blog about haiku and done prompts here with the form and specific posts and prompts about spring, autumn and winter haiku. But somehow, summer was overlooked, so this was our remedy that.

The haiku form doesn't get the respect it deserves. It seems so simple that it is often used with children as a first formal poetry assignment. But good haiku is not that easy to write.

People notice that many famous haiku poems don't seem to follow the rules we usually hear for haiku verse: three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. That is both because the classic Chinese and Japanese poets of haiku were not working with syllables and because in translation to English the syllabication is usually ignored.

We asked you to follow that 5-7-5 in your poems, and also a few classic rules: emphasis on a single moment, and a focus on nature, and either a direct or indirect reference to a season that turns the reader's attention to the passage of time. That last part is often accomplished by using a seasonal word (kigo KEY-GO).

A few samples:

The cool breeze.
With all his strength
The cricket.
      ~  ISSA

This warm river
I walk across it
holding my sandals
      ~  BUSON

Even a woodpecker
wouldn't crack the tea hut.
in the summer grove.

Their own fires
are on the trees
fireflies around the house with flowers.
     ~  BASHO

For more on all our prompts and other things poetic, check out the Poets Online blog.

Air dense as packed sand
Crape Myrtles sweat red and white
Lethargy expands.

Robert Miller

They are the keepers
of all the world's history -
whales breaching offshore

Kenneth Ronkowitz

summer night
sprinkling water on terrace
before sleep

Vishnu P Kapoor, Chennai India

crack of bat to ball
somewhere over the green hill -
too hot for running

Charles Michaels

a rippling blue lake
in springtime, now a puddle –
wild geese browse rich mud

Taylor Graham

Windblown hair soaking
Curls upon the high tide breeze
The sea holding dreams.

Jennifer Kosuda

full moon on the rise
fine mist blankets the harbor
sound of cicadas

Marie A. Mennuto-Rovello

The scent of summer
Coconut tanning lotion
And boardwalk cuisine

Terri J. Guttilla

First time at nude beach.
Tanlines evidence virgins.
Want to touch everyone.

Lianna Wright