ジャッキーはこの俳句ノートを持ち歩き、言葉をそぎ落とし、俳句を完成させるプロセスを楽しんだ。 JACKIE HOFFART PHOTO
今週ジャッキーが挑戦したのは一日一句、俳句を詠むということ。なかなか楽しいチャレンジとなったようですが、俳句を詠んで見えてきたこととは — ？
I can't remember the first time I learned to write haiku, but I'm pretty sure we wrote them in grade school English class. I remember thinking they were kind of silly because there's so much temptation to write something cutesy or trite. I don't think I understood how hard it is to create something meaningful under such strong restrictions. I also don't think my teachers taught us that haiku should reference the season.
The 5-7-5 syllable structure is so rigid, but that's what makes really great haiku so incredible. They are accessible (anyone can write one), but they also require a great deal of skill to do well (as you will see by mine, I am not terribly skilled). Haiku seem to me to be a lot like sculpture. It's about chiseling away at an idea until the form is right, not about adding and adding until you have enough.
And when it comes to writing poetry, my instinct is to write about deep and meaningful subjects like love or human nature, but I don't feel so drawn to seasonal or nature-infused stories — maybe I've been out of Japan for too long to feel moved by those types of things in the same way I used to. So I've adapted the haiku form to suit my style. I hope you'll forgive me.
What was really exciting about this challenge is that it forced me to write about whatever was on my mind: sometimes lofty things and other times trivial things.
Looking back, these haiku are like snapshots of my brain at various parts of the past couple of weeks. Over 10 days, I only missed one. These are the five best:
Today my old haunts
Became real again to me
Lost I was, and found
I love with my eyes
Which explains the reason why
I can't meet your gaze
My new rubber boots
Keep my feet dry from the rain
But aren't that comfy
I'm starting to think
That maybe right before bed
Isn't haiku time
I couldn't find you
To give you my number, so
Maybe that was it
When I look at them as a whole, I see that I write a lot about nostalgia or new romantic hopes. The fact that I'm back in Vancouver after so many years of not living here popped up in a few of them, this idea of my memories haunting me.
Most of them have a fairly unpolished, clumsy quality to them, which is to be expected if I am pushing myself to generate one a day. This was an exercise in prioritizing quantity over quality, after all.
I am not surprised by the prominence of love and silliness in my poems; that reflects a lot about my character. I'm kind of a corny, romantic person who makes a conscious effort not to take myself too seriously. I'm starting to think that haiku is the perfect medium for me. I really want to keep up the habit of writing them.
But the aspect I appreciate most about this challenge is that, much like the drawing challenge last fall, it forced me to sit down and appreciate my world in a different way. It's a shame I have to "force myself" to process life in this way, but nevertheless I am grateful for the opportunity.
I really recommend taking on a challenge like this. I know ST has a haiku page and I encourage you to write a couple and then send in your favorite one.
Next time: What if I ... reflect on a year of challenges?