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Lucius

Haiku Hero

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Last sand grain in place

Days of prayer, careful work, now

Scatter to the winds

 

Returned from exile

What used to be my playground

Gone without a trace

 

Registered anew

Search words "Haiku Hero." Gone?

As if never was.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Well mounted I ride

My palindromedary

Even through haiku

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For a Change, I'll Put the Palindromedary Here..... I think I'm going to post this haiku first and get people's reactions, before revealing who wrote it and the other particulars about it. Some of you may remember it from before. For the record, I did NOT write this one.

 

My small son's first step

Above the swept hearth is hung

A warrior's sword.

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Re: For a Change, I'll Put the Palindromedary Here.....

 

Originally posted by Lucius

 

My small son's first step

Above the swept hearth is hung

A warrior's sword.

 

I like it. to me it has a Nordic flavour. The kid picks up the sword and becomes a true warrior-born.

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My small son's first step

Above the swept hearth is hung

A warrior's sword.

 

This reminds me more of a samauri's son than anything nordic. That could be the anime influence showing through, or maybe the fact that haiku is a Japanese poetic form.

 

This (to my eyes anyway) is a good haiku, conveying its meaning clearly (or is it clear? maybe we're all having different interpretations) and concisely.

 

Haiku is an interesting art form, really. We in the west tend to use it mainly for comic effect, which is fine, but I think its real value is the fact that it forces you to choose your words carefully. When you only have seventeen syllables, all of them need to count. The haiku must be elegant, in the sense used to describe a mathematical proof.

 

That elegance is where I see beauty.

 

Zeropoint

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Haiku, General and Specific

 

Zeropoint -

 

Regarding your comments about haiku generally, I present two haiku I wrote for the old boards.

 

Quatrains with rhyme schemes

Stumble awkwardly, words forced;

Haiku flows freely

 

Haiku flows freely

Just enough discipline there

To make elegance

 

 

As far as using haiku to comic effect, if I am not mistaken that is part of its heritage - one of the earlier Japanese forms haiku evolved from was often used for comic poetry, or so I have been told. Also, note that even a comic poem can have something serious to say, as in this one I wrote about the Hero System that is dense with wordplay but does - pardon the expression - make a point.

 

One must count points, else

Pointless the rules, but know that

Points are not the Point

 

 

As for the haiku under discussion

 

My small son's first step

Above the swept hearth is hung

A warrior's sword

 

It is astute of you to suspect that it is not as clear and straightforward as one would at first suppose. It is both clear and opaque - that is, it speaks clearly to many people, but what it says to each tells more about that person than about the writer. It is, in a word, evocative, which is why I regard it highly as poetry. The reason I put it back out here for discussion is that there was an interesting and lively discussion going on about it before - and in fact, it inspired several other people to write their own haiku.

 

The author is Lilith Silvermane (she can be reached at lilithsilvermane@yahoo.com) so at once the assumption often made that it is a man's poem is confounded.

 

With that much context - that a woman wrote it - I wonder if anyone's view of it changes?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Cleverly I park

My palindromedary

In the center line

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Sorry for taking so long to respond.

 

Yes, it does change my perception somewhat. From the male perspective that I assumed initially, the son's development into a warrior seemed like a good thing, but a mother might be worried about losing her son to war.

 

I've been thinking about this for a while (part of the reason it took me so long to respond) and this is what I've come up with:

 

The haiku presents three distinct elements (the small son taking his first steps, the swept hearth, and the warrior's sword) but does not give any indication of the relationship(s) among them. This allows the reader to project his or her own perceptions onto the three emotionally charged concepts.

 

The son will grow up and become a brave and honarable warrior.

 

The son, now innocent, will one day be trained to fight and kill.

 

The son will have a chance to grow up because the home (represented by the hearth) is defended by the warrior.

 

The son means everything to his mother, because the sword is all that's left of his father.

 

A father appreciates being there for his son's first steps, giving thanks that he can keep his sword over the fireplace instead of on his belt.

 

...

 

I could keep going, but you get the point: what you see in this haiku may say more about you than about the author.

 

Lucius, I would be interested in discussing this further, if you are willing.

 

Zeropoint

 

Evoke a season,

Use seventeen syllables;

You've got a haiku.

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I noticed that,with two minor changes, my signature is a Haiku:

 

Eagles may soar..., but

weasels do not get suck'ed

into jet engines

 

and on that note, I'll leave you with this:

 

I tire of these rhymes

The sound of sleep calls to me

Be well, those still here

 

;)

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Haiku

 

Zeropoint -

 

Giving the lie to your name, you make an excellent point. There are a thousand stories in those seventeen syllables.

 

I'm not going to name names or repeat haiku that were written by others, but something that surprised me on the old board was how heated the discussion got. One person in particular was inspired to write a haiku about a son who grows up to be a coward - he saw not only the idea of a proud father with high hopes, but the potential that such hopes could be disastrously disappointed. Another person who was under the impression that _I_ had written the haiku, and that I had written it about my own son, not only leapt to defend my family honor but was rather insulting to the author of the "coward" haiku - he was deeply offended at what he saw as a callous sullying of a father's joy.

 

And most of this discussion, mind you, was taking place IN HAIKU.

 

I'd probably be trying to cast these remarks in haiku too, but I'm still recovering from a long fever and I'm just not sure I'm up to it. Yet.

 

So I intervene and explain that 1) I didn't write it, 2) Who did.

 

But since people were making it personal, I did explain that the woman who wrote it was at one time my wife, and that she did in fact have a son - my stepson, who I am proud to say we have recently learned is soon to be a father himself. I still remember some of the haiku I wrote that time

 

He came to me with

Half man's growth and years, more than

Half a man's manhood.

 

I summed up his character with

 

Better man than I

Excels even his father

Beats twenty of you.

 

 

I decided to let him in the discussion and mailed him a copy of the discussion to that point. He responded

 

A sword remains sheathed

Its owner is a coward?

A narrow view

 

He said he didn't care if I attributed it or not, so I'll just use his nickname, Rusty. I thought it was a good response, but not in the same class as his mother's original.

 

Speaking of which, she has written several haiku since.

 

Most recently -

 

Water lilies float

Beneath my daughter's fingers

She only sees the frog.

 

Again, she can be reached at lilithsilvermane@yahoo.com if you wanted to comment directly.

 

To put her son-hearth-sword haiku in further context, she actually wrote it when she was about 14 or 15 - a good many years before her son was born. So as I asked

 

Is it about him

Or every son ever born

Each child's first small steps?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Well mounted I ride

My palindromedary

Even through haiku

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Water lilies float

Beneath my daughter's fingers

She only sees the frog.

 

Maybe it's the fact that I'm male, and things like swords have more immediate impact for me than water lilies and frogs do, but this haiku doesn't grab me like the first one. Of course, in light of my earlier statements, this is a reflection of my own personality rather than a statement of the intrinsic quality of the work.

 

A question for you, Lucius: I've seen some indications that in feudal Japan, haiku was treated as "iaijutsu poetry," so to speak, composed on the spot with no prior refinement. On the other hand, it seems to me that it would take considerable time and effort to distill concepts down to the minimum number of words while still adhering to the prescribed form. Where on this spectrum does the author of these haiku reside?

 

...

 

You know, I don't really seem to have much of my own to contribute to this topic, other than making obvious observations and relating things that I've read. But, if that draws out useful information from those who have it, I suppose it's worthwhile.

 

On the writing of haiku again: I've tried to compose some haiku over the past few weeks, but I can't seem to do much beyond counting syllables. My natural mode of thinking is mainly logical and analytical, and my my writing experience mostly academic. I suspect that I am not well suited to the creation of this particular art form, regardless of how much I appreciate it.

 

Zeropoint

 

There, the easy death.

Here, pain, hardship, and honor.

Which am I to choose?

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My apologies; on reviewing my post it becomes obvious that I failed to adress anything that you said in your last post.

 

Unfortunately, it's getting late, and I don't have the intellectual capacity to do you justice at the moment.

 

Zeropoint

 

Bitter alkaloid

Sparks synapses in my brain.

I need some caffiene.

 

Man, look at that. I use words like "alkaloid" and "synapses" in a poem.

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Haiku Hero Zeropoint - I don't think you're doing too badly. The one haiku succeeds in getting the "look again" or "double take" response because it makes the point that more honor may be found in a heroic, and painful and trying, life, than in a heroic death. As for the other, I see nothing wrong with incorporating words like "alkaloid" into poetry. I have certainly used the word "palindromedary" in a haiku. As for whether Lilith does "iajutsu" poetry, I would say she tends to do so. From what I have observed, she tends to dash off verse without much forethought. But just as one masters the fast-draw only by repeated practice, it is easier to compose any literary form when one has in fact made a study of it, understands its principles, and ideally has had some practice. I have done "iajitsu haiku" sometimes - I once carried on a flirtation for several hours in which the woman and I exchanged almost all of our remarks in haiku. I WISH I had a record of all we said that evening.... As I understand it, in Japan they do NOT adhere to a strict 5/7/5 count of syllables. I think that was perhaps an attempt to carry over into the Occident rules that pertained to number of brushstrokes or somesuch? Of course, if you really want to learn the facts you can probably find them out there on the internet. Our local "alternative" newsweekly publishes "Haiku News." I am not sure where they get them - perhaps it is some nationally syndicated feature. But I wrote them an email -

 

Reading haiku news

War and peace in our time, but

It's abridged too far

 

One of the editors, a Jim Poyser, wrote back "Brilliant!" I asked "Can I quote you on that?" "Only if you do it in 17 syllables." So I wrote

 

Nuvo's Jim Poyser

Says Lucius Alexander

Writes "Brilliant!" haiku

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Cleverly I park

My palindromedary

In the center line

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I'm Impressed

 

Originally posted by Bazza

Zeropoint, Lucius

 

how's this.

 

The ass Lucius

Unveiled Isis he saw

Himself infinite

 

Impressive Bazza

Syllable count's off - so what?

I bow before you

 

You honour my name

Recalling my namesake's change

The grace of the Goddess

 

"Change is. Touch is. Touch us. Change us."

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Pretentiously poetical Pagan on a palindromedary, and uses too much alliteration too!

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Another Haiku Series

 

It happened to me

Jobless homeless veteran

'Nother statistic

 

Logistics, English,

And Religious Studies, odd

Assorted degrees

 

Past Mensa member

I may be unemployed, but

I ain't no dummy

 

My health is fine, thanks

Where's the disability?

Sound mind and body

 

Can't blame addiction

Shun smoking, booze, dope, only

Haiku's my habit

 

No arrest record

My only convictions are

Of the moral kind

 

Those lazy poor lack

Courage and initiative

Tell me that quaint lie

 

War and aftermath

Seventy hour weeks: Goldbrick!

Uniformed slacker!

 

Virtue does no good

I'd try booze and crime if

I Didn't have conscience

 

See me in the street

Not I who avert my gaze

Which of us feels shame?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And the verdict is - innocent! Feed them to the palindromedary!

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