Travelling the single line of haiku
One line haiku (monoku) and commentaries.
travelling the monorail - one line haiku:
The layering of meaning beyond the immediate: The "now" in monoku
Yanty’s Butterfly: Haiku Nook Anthology
ed. Jacob Salzer and the Nook Editorial Staff (2016)
Enjoy working out the different approaches, the tricks where nouns are verbs or vice versa or both, where meanings are like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, taking you down a rabbit hole far far away from a hot English Summer picnic of a day, or Dorothy’s Oz, where her silver shoes (the book) or ruby slippers (the movie) take you somewhere that is no longer Kansas.
Blue boxes also makes me think of coffins, this time especially designed for whales, and why I’m surprised we have not made extinct. But of course the beluga is harvested, its young harvested, just as adults harvest human young in business from music to clothing to darker pursuits. My connections might not be what you, the reader or the original author intended of course, but once the poem is out there, a reader makes their own home around it.
For more of Marianne Paul's incredible one-line haiku:
The monoku starts powerfully already with its very first word, and then the second one makes me think someone is looking out, perhaps sadly. But the monoku keeps on giving word by word. We now have a window box, is it empty, full of dust and cobwebs? The next word says full, so I am already guessing it's not those two thoughts - yes, even a monoku is worth reading s-l-o-w-l-y in order to savour the meaning or meanings gradually. The penultimate word is 'of' and I still continue to be surprised it's not just flowers, but wild ones. Did the patient somehow collect them, or a relative, or a member of staff? What a glorious gift by whomever made such an effort, when it could have all so easily been shop-bought seeds or potted plants just 'plonked' into the window box.
The power of the poetic line shines through the monoku:
hospice window box full of wildflowers
And would be somewhat diluted through line breaks:
window box full
green meadow the mother chases bare feet baby
Srinivasa Rao Sambangi
This monoku has a delightful movement throughout, and in its many parts. It's stunningly brilliant, and it shouldn't work, as you could say 'why not' this phrasing instead:
a bare foot baby
bare feet babies
But tuck into those words and phrasing, get in between them, and have fun understanding why it gloriously works.
The more I read the poem the more layers, from a partner who might have left to get something practical, but missed a particular sighting, a moment that will have to be let go. Or something about letting go of childhood, and do we really have to let go of everything?
a church steeple harpoons the moon forced childbirth
Second Place, Fourth Annual Senryu Contest, Sonic Boom
scorched earth not a blade in sight
This could be read in so many ways, which can be a strength in haiku as it becomes more inclusive, allowing different readers to have their own valid thoughts about a poem.
Is this about our entire planet (Earth) which is experiencing extreme weather conditions, or about one specific area, one plot of land?
Having lived in Australia, in Queensland, this verse could be about back burning by agricultural practice to rejuvenate the land, or a fire protective measure: Or carelessness or arson.
But with 'not a blade in sight' is this about farming equipment, or as the author lives in Britain, is about the time when the island was at constant war with itself, or with invading countries? During the Medieval Ages, off and on for decades, there seemed to be constant warfare, and when not tearing up the land in battle or slaughter, with sword, spear, arrow, other bladed weapons, there was a scorched earth policy, a trick learnt from the Romans, and those before them.
Scorched earth practice:
I didn't know of the author's intent, although she has affirmed this was her reasons for writing this verse, only that for me there is a chilling pun that there are no blades of grass, and also no blade type weapons, as the destruction to land and people has been fully accomplished.
deepening autumn a caged bird's song
Modern Haiku, issue 51.2 Summer 2020
The beauty of haiku is that it can be interpreted on so many levels. Funny you should ask me. I always had this innate talent for art but I only properly learnt to paint or write after I got married and stayed alone in a strange city away from home. My relatives thought I know nothing or rather I was good for nothing.
My first publication on a haiku journal took them by surprise. They didn't understand why I was alone in my room all those years locked away from the world outside. They didn't understand why I was buried in books and encyclopaedias. They didn't understand why I was shy. They didn't understand "my song".
I was always clouded with self-doubts and regrets of not having done anything to hone my skills. Then it rained on me. One day. Words, they freed myself from me.
Pure haiku seasoning in those first two words!
The poignancy of a caged bird, which even if we didn’t have Hema’s thoughts, we might guess was about her.
moon forest the murmur of a brook
The Poetry Pea Journal of haiku and senryu (summer edition 2020)
In folktales and fantasy, an enchanted forest is a place of magic and danger. It's a home to witches, monsters and fairies. Sad, but in reality such a place like that doesn't exist. If you want it to be woods can be spellbinding. Imagine the moonlight piercing through a dense canopy of gnarly forest and make it look it's straight out of Lord of The Rings. Legend has it that trees can find admired ways for winds to make itself heard. Just don't expect the trees to talk.
*the trees nod in agreement*
A fantastic opening two words!
Bringing sound into a haiku is always a good technique. This is sublime, the murmur of a brook by moonlight.
wherever my legs take me kitchen sink
Under the Basho (19 March 2020)
Ufff, those of you who know me know that I hate doing dishes. Maybe hate is a strong word. I despise doing dishes. If you finally get done with the mountain of dishes in the sink, THERE IS ANOTHER. If someone will give me a dollar everytime I do dishes. I'd rather NOT.
Ah yes, I tend to be somewhat bound to the kitchen sink too. I have been washing dishes since the age of six years old!
All these one-line haiku show various successful techniques. Fantastic work!
An excellent monoku: “snow on the sun” is unique as I don’t think people would normally think of it that way, and “navigating childhoods” leaves plenty of room for the reader to participate. There is a balance of concrete and abstract in this one-line haiku.
Here are details about our first ever online course about one line haiku which will start tomorrow.