4 responses

  1. I love this. Few poets would even think to put the words ‘clean’ and ‘spider’ in such close proximity to one another, much less make it work in context. Plus, sandwiching the central line between ‘mid’ and ‘rain’ is a pleasing effect indeed! This subtle pictorial quality is one that I enjoy in many of my favorite poems, haiku or otherwise. Well played!

    I too have noticed that I have made a habit out of reading the first words of each line in your haiku on their own. Pardon my asking, but when writing do you find yourself starting with these words, or are they rather worked out along the way? I’m simply interested in how they sometimes seem to create a sort of ‘picture within the picture’.

    I wouldn’t hold it against you if you didn’t answer. Sometimes analyzing one’s own work in such a way can feel too much like pinning butterflies to a board when you’d rather just let them flit around.


    • Thanks Dolph! This was inspired by a little shiny black slider with one of those red hourglasses on its back. It was on the underside of a bulkhead door.

      Here’s the way it works: I usually start with the general idea. And then, because I enjoy a little bit of structure to work against, I often re-order thought and observation so that the haiku makes “syntactic” and poetic sense with one word in the first and third line. That often forces me to change the initial conception of the poem, and sometimes my initial idea won’t work in that format.

      For some reason, anything more than one word in the first and third line strikes me as wordy. I love the feel of brevity one word at beginning and end adds to the haiku—quickly appearing and quickly disappearing. It makes it feel swift and light. And I always try for a little “turn”, twist, or insight with the third line/word. The last word, ideally, is what makes the haiku work. I don’t always manage that, but that’s what I aim for.

      I don’t mind pinning poetic butterflies to the board. It’s what my blog does. :)

  2. I too find that I need some structure beyond schoolroom syllabics to lean on when composing haiku. For a while there I constructed haiku based on word count, and I still do from time to time. Nine words seemed about right, albeit a bit arbitrary. I think I simply enjoyed that it allowed me to write three lines of three words each. I can’t help but love such geeky little symmetries =)

    As of late, however, I’ve taken to constructing haiku out single lines of iambic pentameter. I was reviewing some of my old haiku and noticed that some of them just happened to fall into pentameter rhythms without me even noticing when I wrote them. Go figure!

    Part of me gets a kick out of employing such a historically convoluted and contrived approach, but more than anything, I like that can scratch two poetic itches with one quill.

    Your approach seems very smart to me — allowing a handful of words to germinate and grow.

    At any rate, thanks for indulging a fan’s curiousity!
    If you keep writin’ I’ll keep readin’!

    • I think it’s really cool that you’re writing one line iambic haiku. I’ve read that Japanese haiku, when not presented as a haiga (part of a painting or drawing) were written in one line.

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