Flashback: When I First Time Heard of Haiku
I came to know of this term back in 2003-2004 when I was in Class 9. That time I had started just the journey of writing. At that time, after reading one of my poems–which was of four lines–my Language Teacher said the term haiku. The poem was like this–
Put your glass up on your nose
Look at me with that seductive smile
God, please, abracadabra others
My Language Teacher was my first reader cum proofreader (I was very very bad in Bengali spelling at that time) cum criticizer. He, as I recollect now, after writing this type of poem, few more, he asked me if I was trying writing haiku. I shrugged my shoulder and asked what’s Haiku is–last time I never asked for some forgotten reason. He replied in short– a Japanese poem written in 3 lines. He never mentioned the syllables rule ’til I wrote my first 3 lined poem. Wait, let me share that–
You are angry at me, good.
I am also; will not talk until night
My dear Ma.
But, after listening to the rule I didn’t drop that idea, but, started writing few lines poems then and now. That time I only used to write in Bengali.
Okay, don’t yawn. No more history darlings. Now to recent time.
My First Haiku: A Journey Name Triplet of Haiku #1: Rain, Fire & Song
That day Daily Post Daily Prompt was Devastation.
A few days back, I had tried a different prompt using the Prompt Exposure (When My Mind Teased Me: A Day After Am Out of Veil). I can’t say what’s the format call but I had read poem like this.
I was, so, thinking to try s’thing anew, s’thing different to break my cocoon of writing in only free verse, want to challenge self. I was going through others response; I also skim the blog of those who are in Following as well as Follower.
Then suddenly this idea struck me what about writing a haiku. I started researching on how to write it. I read few articles and few haiku. Then I started writing one. At first, it was a dump; it was simply scraped piece. The order of syllable out of order, the words that form the sentences were simply unrelated as if they were written to make a sentence–no meaning, no soul.
I can drop that or anyone else because the end result was such a depressing one. But a zeal had arisen inside my head, inside my poetic soul. As a poet why should I walk back? I need to write a haiku.
After a couple of hours, cursing self for committing mistakes; hustles and bustle with words and thoughts I end up writing three haiku. From then I write haiku when I felt I should and s’times when I’ve prior commitment but an idea or a prompt haunt me, I sat down to write a haiku.
Tricks & Ideas: How My Florilegium of Haiku Started Flourishing
As I write more haiku, I realized one thing haiku is actually a trick to writing a triplet in the fewer words, expressing what you want. Though I use the word “trick” but actually it’s a collection of tricks.
The first thing that needs to be taken care while writing a haiku is the order of syllable need to maintain. Many, often and s’times, ditch the pattern 5-7-5 pattern. They suggest it’s okay to do so because Japanese syllable and English syllable are much different and maintaining the syllable meter thus a problematic as well a hard task to stick on. Yes, I also s’times thought and think that this idea can be ignored. But, I didn’t because as I said a few days back in a post that I am a poet at heart but a scientist in mind. So, I came up with a trick the trick of synonym.
A word always has synonyms. So, when you need to adjust a word to meet the set haiku meter in a line you can Google the synonym. I perform this trick most of the time to keep the meter in place and as needed. Now, s’time we might not find the perfect synonym; in that case, use another word that can get close to that word. Surprisingly you might find that it either exceeded the needed meter of the syllables or less than the needed. In that case, you should either try to rephrase the sentence or should try few more synonyms or a similar closed-meaning word.
Silence, thoughts seduce–
Words, page chuckle…
—Florilegium: A Dozen of Haiku (01/25/2017)
Here the last climax word “chuckle” was not my first choice. I was toying with smiled and laughed. But, there was one less syllable. So, after thinking a lot–it was actually a hell ride name brainstorm–I pick up the word “chuckle”. It fits the meter as well has a closer similar meaning to the words I was toying with–smiled and laughed.
The next trick is one of the most exciting things I discovered (or invented) to maintain the syllable meter. When I discover this I was overwhelmed. The trick is to break down the word to meet the meter. I don’t know whether it’s legal (I can’t find a perfect word) to do this or whether anyone had used this or think of this.
Consider the following haiku of mine–
Which I would not…
—2 (Haiku): Rain & Mist (01/28/2017)
Yes, you’ll stumble on the end of the first line and start of the first line. Drizzle. The word is of 2 words–driz-zle. In the first line, January was of 4 syllables (Jan-u-ar-y); 1 syllable was needed as well as the word “drizzle”. So, I break down the word. ‘Driz’ in line 1 and the remaining 1 in next ‘zle’ followed by other words recollect (3 syllables–rec-ol-let) and memory (3 syllables–mem-o-ry); thus 7 syllables meter of the second line met.
Another example where I used this approach–
Rain falling in lazy way,
When she woke up by acquaint-
ed engine rev at lawn…
—Cinderella: A Florilegium of Haiku (02/01/2017)
These two tricks are all I want to share with you at the moment for writing a haiku. If I found out more trick(s) I’ll obviously share with you.
Syllables: The Main Ingredient to Have a Haiku
The discussion of haiku will not be complete if I left out my tryst with syllables. This element of haiku had and have and always put me in problems. As I said before, a few minutes back, Japanese syllable (on) is very much different than the English one.
As this article is on my tryst with haiku, so, am keeping aside the discussion of haiku in deep. Next week, I’ll discuss on haiku–the facts I came up while researching on this form.
Now, where was I, yes syllable. Syllables are actually building blocks of a word. A syllable generally made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins. Like, for example, air has one syllable but water has two (wa-ter). So, how can this determine that how many syllables are there in a word?
There are about six to seven methods to determine the count of the syllable. You’ll find them if you skim the net. I’m presenting here the three methods that I used mostly to count the syllables of a word. But, I promise in another week after I discuss on haiku in deep, I’ll write another article on syllables.
- Putting my hand under the chin.
- Saying the word.
- The number of times my chin touch my hand is the number of syllables.
- Saying the word.
- The numbers of syllables are the number of time the vowels (A, E, I, O, or U) sounded separately.
Speaking like a robot i.e. slowly and softly and thus, in meanwhile, observing how many times I had paused. The number of pauses determines the number.
Another approach I follow, but, that too only in the scenario where I couldn’t determine the number of the syllables by using the three methods aforementioned or I just want to be sure, I have calculated the syllables correctly. The approach is using the online tool for calculating the syllable. The tool that I use is How Many Syllables. But, don’t use it before you’ve tried the approaches I discussed I used to determine the syllable count. Because learning doesn’t know any shortcut or short route.
Good Night…will write the next portion next week…look out for it…and after hitting Like please…please don’t forget to Comment on how you like this; if you find any mistake or if any question arises, then feel free to ask me…I’ll try to revert you back with explanations…till then write some haiku and pingback me here…