The haiku and “poetic scrimshaw” “seek to capture a moment of intense perception. “Haiku turns on strong natural images and intense emotions,often leading to spiritual insights.” Seasons are often implicated. Contemporary poets generally cast haiku as small poems of 5,7,5 syllables.” (Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem, Wendy Bishop) Growing out of Zen Buddhist philosophy the haiku is popular among westerners. Its strict form has undergone changes and experiments but its strictness offers a writer a wonderful challenge.
The reason I enjoy haiku is because of its skeletal precision. This is the same reason I enjoy flash fiction and the crossover to haiku-the flashku. Here is a haiku example.
“The old dog bends his head listening…
I guess the singing
of the earthworms gets to him.” (translated by Robert Bly)
“The old dog-
listening for the songs
(translated by Robert Hass)
Try writing a haiku of your own, or writing substitute words for the above to get the hang of the haiku.