Haiku ~ Do you hear what I hear?

Towards the end of last month I wrote my first, ever, haiku and I posted it  here.  Lovely followers and supporters that you are, you welcomed my haiku with open hearts. A couple of  bloggers, who are themselves haiku experts,  gave me   kind encouragement and information on haiku writing and its history. One of these bloggers was   Sandra Simpson  who is an  award-winning haiku poet, living in New Zealand. Check out her latest winner here.

The other blogger to offer  words of wisdom was  AshiAkira. He brought to my attention the  impact of the sound of a haiku. AshiAkira is bilingual and he writes that, in Japanese, the 5-7-5 “rule produces a very peculiar rhythm to our ear, which we think is very beautiful.” He continues, ” For about four past years, I’ve been trying to express that haiku rhythm in English, but never succeeded. I suppose I have written well over 1,000 haiku poems in English, but none of them sounds like a haiku when it is read…….The haiku rhythm has such an effect that it would stick to your mind when you hear it and you cannot easily forget it. So a well written haiku stays in the hearts of so many people.”

With AshiAkira’s comments on my mind, I went looking for the sound, the rhythm, of haiku in Japanese. And I found this.  At 1.50 in the clip, you can hear Matsuo Basho’s haiku, in Japanese. It is exquisite; it goes straight from the ear to the center of the hEARt. Listen and hEAR.

Now, listen a moment to my second (ever) haiku. What do you hear?

Take a moment and read my words out loud, for yourself. What do you hear?

oregano star

choral bees sing harmony

honey for the ear

In my  world of eye to the words  on  the  computer screen, or  eye to  paper page in hand, I am so accustomed to hearing the silence of words in my head that I forget the great oral, (or is it aural 😉 ?) tradition of poetry ; I forget that the noise of poetry is as important as they way it looks, as the way it engages our minds and our feelings. I forget that poems are a multi-sensory experience.

Do you hear what I hear?

What do you hear?  What do you see?

oregano star

Oregano star

Oregano star

choral bees sing harmony

honey to the ear

How does that feel? Sweet?  Has my haiku found your heart?

And how would it sound in Japanese? 🙂

Postscript: This post would be incomplete without a hat tip to the wonderful  Ellen Grace Olinger , who has been a gentle guide through the art of haiku, from the day I first started to read her blog.

© silkannthreades

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80 thoughts on “Haiku ~ Do you hear what I hear?

  1. niasunset

    Impressive and so beautiful. The spirit of haiku poem is amazing, I don’t know how to express well enough. Thank you, I have just found your blog in one of my beautiful blogger friends’ blog, I am so glad for this. With my love, nia

    Reply
  2. Leya

    i love the way you go deap into things…and learn, and make us learn with it too! That clip on Haiku is very informative and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!

    My students sometimes write haiku, and my son is good at it. I never do…haven’t done since high school. You are already a pro, I feel! Even your voice seem perfect for it. A wonderful word for it from one of the friends commenting! We are looking forward to more of this! I believe summer winds brings forth these talents!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mmmmm….summer winds do seem to bring creativity to the fore. Does your son write haiku in English or Swedish? I am trying to imagine how the latter would sound. Beautiful I am sure.

      Reply
  3. Brenda

    The white butterflies danced in my oregano patch all summer. You have brought back that delightful memory to me. I even have a video I never did anything with…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Do you think we may see the dancing butterflies, now you have been reminded? It’s lovely and warm here today and the monarchs are back amongst the oregano and the neighbouring swan plants.

      Reply
  4. melodylowes

    Trust you to jump right in with both feet AND your ears! 🙂 Love how you are exploring the world of poetry for yourself, and taking us along with you for the ride. I love the images you put with your words, and the fun you are having in crafting some excellence. You go, girl!

    Reply
  5. Ralph

    Well done Gallivanta 😀 Here’s the Japanese version by Google Translate. Go for it !! Ralph xox 😀
    オレガノスター

    合唱ミツバチが調和を歌う

    耳のための蜂蜜

    Reply
      1. Ralph

        Ah. The sound !! When I said “Go for it !!” I meant for you to recite your poem in Japanese. It’s easy. A bit like karaoki. I’ve given you the words my friend. Go for it !! 😉 hehe

        Reply
  6. Robyn Wehner

    I’m a 2 day old follower of your blog which also happens to be the only one I do follow.! Your gentle perceptive approach, and appreciation and gratitude for the small things in life resonate with me, too. I liked your haiku very much,and my oregano flowers are abuzz with bees as are the pink and white clovers in my lawn. I think you’re right about the importance of consciously saying the words of haiku. Your second and third lines drip with bee sounds/humming and the busyness of honey making, while I feel the hot stillness of a summer’s afternoon. The first line sets the context with the miracle/myriad of such tiny flowers being the basis of such industry. Special.

    >

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s lovely to see/ understand my haiku through your eyes and ears. From the very, very little that I know about haiku, it seems to me to be a type of poetry that is welcoming and inclusive of the reader and the writer….just a thought 🙂 Isn’t it wonderful to watch the bees in the oregano? Unfortunately, my tiny lawn is without clover; it sprouts the odd borage plant though, and some rocket!!!! I am so glad that your first dip in to the blogging world is a positive experience. Welcome 🙂

      Reply
  7. Juliet

    Gallivanta, that’s really beautiful! I love the last line and the way the haiku shifts from sight to sound and then to taste. Very satisfying.
    I enjoyed the video about haiku too; very informative thank you.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Juliet, this will probably seem a bit silly, but I hadn’t realised that I had done that till you pointed it out! And I thought I had thought it all through so carefully 😀

      Reply
  8. Mrs. P

    Listening to you brought a HUGE smile to my face…a smile…because of the pleasure I received in hearing your voice for the very first time. What a wonderful idea to record yourself. 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  9. utesmile

    Your s sounds very nice soft and sunny. I am not goo d at poetry and things with sylables in a foreign language is for me impossible. It is nice to read other peoples though. I like the fact that there is a season related word in it and nature really.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      There is so much to this tiny poetic form that one could become lost in it forever, I suspect! I found it quite difficult to read my haiku out loud; to get my haiku to sound the way I wanted it to 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wasn’t the haiku video fun to watch? Mellifluous…..such a beautiful word ..”.From Latin mellifluus (“flowing like honey”), from mel (“honey”) + fluō (“flow”). “

      Reply
  10. ordinarygood

    Oh honey bees a-buzzing in your garden. That gives me hope. They are so, so absent here and I have plenty of bee attracting flowers. I love your photos – I can smell summer from them.
    I admire your public step into Haiku composition. What a glorious beginning here:-)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We had a beautiful day yesterday; monarch butterflies flying, bees buzzing. Today, the old southerly with drizzle. But we must be happy because everything is desperate for moisture. Did you hear/see that the bee industry will be carrying out a bee survey this year? http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/235142/national-bee-health-survey-planned I wonder what they will discover. Also, I am wondering if you may have inconspicuous native bees secretly enjoying your garden http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/wasps-and-bees/page-4
      My sister in Cairns thought her garden was devoid of bees until she realised that the little black insects here and there were native Australian bees! Thanks for encouraging my haiku performance 🙂

      Reply
  11. Clanmother

    This is a wonderful post! Now you have given me a whole new perspective and journey to pursue. Thank you!! Thank you!!!

    “Mountain-rose petals
    Falling, falling, falling now…
    Waterfall music”
    Matsuo Bashō, Japanese Haiku

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Delicious! Is this where we bring in Handel’s water music? Perhaps a little too jaunty? I hope you clicked on the word Honey and discovered the secret within.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I don’t know why I made it hidden really; just something to do with the hidden depths of the haiku and mystery of honey. Their many layers. And your recordings bring harmony/connection to the visual and oral aspects of poetry. I can’t seem to get the same clarity out of Soundcloud as you do.

  12. lensandpensbysally

    Thanks for the video on Haiku. I especially enjoyed the comment about the positive and negatives spaces. These short poems are such challenges. I hope that you keep exploring their power and simplicity. Truly, the oral tradition of reading seems to be a ritual of the past, except with children and grandchildren. Poetry readings do extend this different way to experience the written word. Maybe you can find a group of readings.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It was a fascinating little video, wasn’t it? I expect our wonderful library system has poetry readings from time to time. I must look out for them.

      Reply
  13. Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

    “I forget that the noise of poetry is as important as the way it looks” – it’s true, and makes me think I ought to attend poetry readings more often. I remember writing haikus in grade school. I’m sure all we understood as students was the count of the syllables, however – we didn’t grasp the rhythm of them, and I don’t recall reading them aloud.

    I loved (the sound of) your haiku – looking forward to more! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sheryl. I remember reading Shakespeare aloud in classes at school. We probably read poetry aloud too but I don’t remember that. And we didn’t do haiku writing or reading. I don’t think I have ever been to a poetry reading.

      Reply
  14. YellowCable

    I completely agreed, the noise (sound?) of the poetry is as important (or even more important) than what it looks. It likes one of the ingredients in a fabulous dish. Your sweet voice reading the haiku did away of the need for the actual look of the poem.

    Ok, lastly I think you went beyond the definition of “look” in the poetry. Those pictures are just as sweet…

    Reply
  15. coulda shoulda woulda

    so true – we forget this as since the renaissance we have started to read in our minds instead of out loud! alliteration is not the same in our heads is it? Keep it up Gallivanta – i think you have a knack for this!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you 🙂 Alliteration is much more fun out of our heads. And just so I am not always talking to myself, I have recited my haiku to my little dog. He seemed to appreciate it. A little treat helped his appreciation!

      Reply
  16. KerryCan

    I haven’t listened yet (it’s early and not everyone is out of bed!) but the words and images are perfect together. I once did a lot of reading on the oral tradition and the ways “singers of tales” used sound and formula to create and remember complicated poetry. It makes perfect sense that a haiku that appealed on multiple levels would be memorable.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s true; I am thinking now about how we teach children action songs which help them to learn a variety of skills…and most of us can still remember those action songs from our early years. Did you catch my reference to the Christmas song “Do you hear what I hear?” which apparently was a plea for peace at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I am not sure that it is a protest song but it has that sound to it and a formula that helps to keep its message in our heads.

      Reply
  17. Heather in Arles

    Oh that is just amazingly beautiful and yes, honey to my ears.
    When I was acting, I became specialized in Shakespeare. One of the reasons was that I was transfixed by the sounds of his language. Not only the iambic pentameter but the way say, vowels communicated emotions while syllables could either push the thought forward or stop it cold.
    I think that your haiku is a wonderful example of both of those ideas.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Heather, your words are music to my ears. And the magic of Shakespeare’s sounds/words is that they seem to translate beautifully in to other languages….intriguing. Do you think we may have a little sample of your Shakespearean voice, one day?

      Reply

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