Hay(na)ku

I’m always open to new poetry forms. So when Robert Lee Brewer introduced the hay(na)ku sometime last year on the Poetic Asides blog,I was intrigued. And of course when earlier this month, I saw that the latest Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge was about the hay(na)ku, I absolutely had to give it a try. First though, I reprised the first hay(na)ku I ever wrote, which expressed my feelings about the brevity of the form:

hay(na)ku –
a haiku
or a sneeze?

I should digress at this point, to give the rules for this form. They are simple:

  • 3 lines
  • line 1 contains 1 word; line 2, 2 words; and line 3, 3 words

And that’s it! no syllable counts, no title, no other bells and whistles. I should also mention that I was vacationing in Arizona at the time the challenge was posted. So if the following haiku have an AZ flavor, that’s because I wrote them in car, when we were driving from Mesa to Prescott: (well, all that is, except the last one, which I wrote at the Haiku North America conference in Don Baird’s “Tai Chi Ch’uan– Waking Your Haiku Mind” workshop. I was staring at a very beautiful photo of a hummingbird at the time, which I now own.)

soaring
above clouds
above it all

descending
into evening
the hawk’s shadow

hawks
catching thermals
slow moving clouds

the
silence after
the word “malignant”

unmoored…
the blur
of hummingbird wings

In the flurry of August submissions I sent out, I had all but forgotten about this challenge. Naturally then, it gave me even greater delight to check my Google Reader yesterday, and find that “hawks / catching thermals / slow moving clouds” had taken 1st place in the WD form challenge, and will be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest! All the entries to the challenge can be read in the comments section  of the original post.

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8 thoughts on “Hay(na)ku

    • Thanks, Sanjuktaa. It’s refreshing for a change not to worry about whether something is a haiku, a senryu, or too wordy. With this form, as long as you have the word count right, it’s a hay(na)ku!

  1. For me this is more equivalent to the Japanese Haiku in spirit then our English version of the Haiku. Really like how you have used this form to create some very nice gems. Particularly like “descending into evening the hawk’s shadow” since it can be metaphoric.

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