One of the tasks for my Creative Writing course on my degree is to write a Haiku. Poetry is not really my forte and especially rather abstract ones such as the Haiku. If you’re not familiar with the haiku then let me briefly explain what it is a where it comes from. The Haiku (俳句) is a short Japanese poem, it literally is only 3 lines! The form of the Haiku is that lines 1 and 3 have 5 syllables and line 2 has 7.
古池や蛙飛びこむ水の音 (furuike ya / kawazutobikomu / mizu no oto)
an ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water [Basho 1686]
いざさらば雪見にころぶ所迄 (izasaraba / yukimi ni korobu / tokoromade)
now then, let’s go out / to enjoy the snow … until / I slip and fall! [Basho 1688]
So seeing as some of the most famous examples of Haiku featured an abundance of nature I decided to make sure mine did too. I have long been interested in East Asian culture and in part that is because I am utterly fascinated with Buddhism especially the Japanese and Korean branches Zen and Seon Buddhism, which came to each country via China’s Chan Buddhism.
In Zen Buddhism you are encouraged to let go of ties to the material world, and it is often stressed that All Things Come to Pass, everything is impermanent. In Japanese that is called 無常 (mujō) and in Korean it is 무상 (Musang). What I found rather interesting about the Korean term 무상 is that it roughly translates into English as Free (or maybe thats just the Linguistics nerd within me?). And when you really think about it, if we release ourselves of obligation and stress and realise that everything is impermanent it gives us the freedom to chase life and embrace living in the present.
Okay, I will get to my Haiku in a moment, but first I need to turn to the Japanese custom of Flower Viewing to further explain the inspiration for my Haiku. Hanami (花見) is a tradition in which you observe the transient beauty of flowers, and in most cases that would be Cherry Blossoms as they only flower for a very short amount of time. So that links back quite nicely to the whole theme of All Things Come to Pass.
So here it is in all it’s 3 lined glory, I present to you my Haiku
I don’t really know if this is any good but the inspiration behind this Haiku is rather interesting (well to me at least) so I thought I would share it with you.
And on a side note if you are fluent in Japanese please kindly translate my Haiku I would be interested to see what it looks like and sounds like in Japanese.