New Haiku

Haiku is a Japanese, three-line form which reached prominence during the Edo period (1603-1868) The form is typified by its brevity, lightness and observational keenness regarding the natural world. Though originally syllable counting was also necessary (the traditional structure being five syllables line one; seven, line two and five line three) it is commonly accepted that the differing syllabic structures of Japanese and English make the 5-7-5 formality ungainly in English and, therefore, many contemporary English-speaking haijin choose to include less syllables. What is recognisable however is the use of a fragment and a phrase within the poems and the inclusion of some form of kigo or 'seasonal word.' 

Below are a selection of new haiku in English by B.T.Joy:





sheltering from the downpour

still on your handkerchief
the scent of pine-nuts



after singing about cocaine

the musician
forgets a Dylan song



on bamboo leaves

each droplet
a stretch of sky



not writing about rain

in the azaleas bluebirds
settling



just weeds

until mauve flowers
bloom from the green



on a cycle

window to window
an unenlightened fly



symmetry lesson

on Loch Voil a larch tree
duplicates



a sudden change of heart

from white buds
red flowers



lost appetite

everyday the yellow pears
softening



petal fall

decapitalising the ‘b’
in buddha