[Dixielandjazz] Re: "police" & rules - was Watch Your Back - was
jazzboard at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 22 20:58:23 PDT 2004
Hi Steve (and Haiku lovers) . . .
Aha, we meet again . . .
>You still don't get it do you?
What's to get?
Haiku has the following conditions (as listed on the same web page you got
your Basho quotes, but further down):
1. Using no more than 17 syllables.
2. Arranging these often in lines of 5-7-5 syllables
3. Avoiding similes and metaphors
4. Retaining Japanese values
Now Basho, in those lovely quotes didn't write in English. Translating his
poems into English from Japanese while trying to retain the (1) essense of
the poem and the (2) meter of the poem is extremely difficult.
Sort of like the Fitzgerald translations of the Rubaiyat from Arabic into
English. Those are true to the mood of the poetry AND the meter. And it
wasn't easy for Fitzgerald to accomplish this!
Now I know that rule number two (above) has the qualifier "often" in the
sentence. But if the meter is not important then, conceivably the following
two poems (both mine) are squarely in the Haiku realm:
Never before in the history of the civilized world have so many people
Refused to believe the evidence even though it is right there in front of
If this is true then any three lines containing a coherent thought would
qualify as "Haiku"
If any three logical lines can be considered a traditional art form then the
traditional blues form is indistinguishable from Haiku.
Well I woke up this morning, blue as I could be.
Yes I woke up this morning, blue as I could be.
'Cause my mean ol' woman - she done run out on me!
And, if we're not gonna worry about convention then why is it important to
NECESSARILY use three lines?
Is that a Haiku? And, if not, why not?
What about one line . . .
Hey, that breaks the rules of syllables AND lines and yet is one of the most
profound thoughts humans can express!
How about this one (in the tradition of 4'33"):
Now there's a Haiku to contend with!
I know this line of argumentation is called "reducto ad absurdum" but
perhaps that's where we're headed.
I feel that any English effort at Haiku creation ought to, by the nature of
the art form, absolutely conform to the metric function (5-7-5). Otherwise
it's not a challenge and reduces the skill level of the poet to that of a
language manipulator with a poor vocabulary.
Slipping into Haiku mode here . . .
So at profound risk
I write that Haiku MUST be
Poetry with rules.
Otherwise it is
Just another batch of prose
Any fool could write.
The rules are simple.
The basic Haiku poem
Doesn't even rhyme!
All one asks of it
Is seventeen syllables
Strung out in three lines.
It is sort of like
Iambic Pentameter . . .
Five feet to the line.
That's it, Amigo.
Ignore the metric feet and
Shakespeare's just a hack.
So on this matter
I am right and you are wrong!
So there, ha ha ha!
With this final thought
I bid you all fond farewell
And depart the joust.
Bill "No Basho" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com
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