Haiku #1

My English teacher was telling us the other day how the famous Japanese form of poetry, “Haiku”, has long been her coping strategy. During her lecture, she also managed to discuss the basics of Haiku writing and asked each of us to try one out! She said that the beauty of this form won’t be comprehended until tried, after a while, you’ll be obsessed trying to bring out that perfect Haiku! And from experience I can tell, she’s absolutely right!

Here are a few basic guidelines to start writing Haikus:

  • The first line must comprise 5 syllables
  • The second line is to have 7 syllables
  • The third line should again have 5 syllables
  • The Haiku must contain a seasonal marker on the first line
  • The second line should essentially have a paradox

However, Haiku is one of those forms of poetry which has undergone a lot of experimentation and innovation. Several poets, authors, have broken free from the traditional styles and created their personalised style of Haikus. Moreover, the above guidelines weren’t followed by all traditional Haiku writers either.

So based on my teacher’s guidelines, I tried writing my first Haiku, which you’ll find below. Please feel free to correct any of the information posted above as well as give me feedback on my first!

It’s the winter time,
Raging smoke from factories,
And fireplaces.

Tinted Glass

She lingered around the windows,

In the empty house full of maids and cooks and a butler.

The husband went on business trips, he laughed at her habit-

“If only you knew what there is beyond your silly window-world.”

But he went on alone, she would be too tired from travelling so much.

She lingered near the windows, draped in rich sarees, the ends pulled down her head

That covered an arm’s length effectively.

Moved from one glass case to the other with dainty grace taught by generations of good housewives.

But her decisive fingers pulled down the wooden blinds every time a rebellious sound broke the midday silence.

Eager eyes scanned side to side, peering through layers

Of cloth, of wood, of glass.

At figures interrupted by blinds and a printed veil,

A few inches of thick glass.

Music floated in the air, drifted away,

And the void was filled with more.

Eager eyes peered relentlessly through layers at every sound, at constant music emanating from a distant gramophone.

But her husband decorated her windows- his sweet gesture of love,

Thick white glasses were replaced with carved tinted ones, dark red and emerald.

He laughed with contentment, “You shall see a more colourful world from now.”

She still stood by her windows in her empty house,

Pulled down the blinds sharp at every sound,

And peered through prints, wood and coloured glass,

At shapes and sizes interrupted by layers one too many

She tried hard to make sense of her colourful world.

Prompt by Daily Post: Constant

Here and Now

The smoke is always floating precariously in the air,
Threatening to fall face down on the earth, bringing down a few storeys with it.
The glass doors are more wary of the ugly soot.
They are cleaned twice everyday,
By men, cloth in hand, moving their arms in a robotic up-down-up.
But they are not robots, yet.
The glass doors are a big fraternity, and one leads to another.
They sell attractive work-life-soul packages at discounted rates.
The smoke looms large above each, slowly moving from one place to another.
Glass mannequins wonder how fast they can escape with their long, sword-like heels.
Anxiously adjusting sparkling big stones around their necks, whispering to each other, “Will the smoke dull this shine?”
Plastic forests with their lush enthusiasm fail to assure of environmental regeneration.
They bow their plastic heads in shame, their great grandmothers could draw up water from the earth.
Men run around excitedly, they’re not afraid of anything.
Maybe they need a gun, or a tight lasso, and they’ll take down that arrogant black cloud in no time.
Maybe they need a pair of robot hands- easy.
The great cloud smirks as thinner layers curl up from long pipelines every day.

Via Daily Post: Forest

New Medicine in Stores

The new medicine was finally in the stores.

After years of trial and error.

A limited amount for each wrapped in tiny white paper,

My neighbors knocked on my door.

A 36 boldface Arial in the morning newspaper.

They were all going to the med store.

“Come with us”, they said.

“Purchase a miracle you haven’t ever.”

All of us moved in a snakey queue,

If only I could afford some more, I thought.

And packed for a family of four.

Several broadcasts of the creators’ interview.

They sold love in bits of paper,

A few thousand rupees per unit,

The cure for everything.

After years of trial and error.

Via Daily Post: Neighbors