Haiku in…Haiku?

ImageI’ve resisted Haiku, insisting it was nothing more than just another way for people with too much brain power to make the rest of us feel like gerbils in a cage.

Then someone asked me to write it.  

I immediately slammed my virtual palm squarely into the following button:


So I tried to figure out how to do it “right.”  

“Right” is important if you’re walking a tightrope between 2 buildings.  “Right” is important if you’re designing the buildings the tightrope is tethered to.  If you don’t walk on the tightrope correctly, you’re dead.  If you don’t design the buildings correctly, everyone in the building is dead.  

Poetic license is not subject to the laws of physics, i.e., if it’s not quite right, I might irritate a few pretentious bastards but I’m not going to kill anybody.  If you had to do it “right” it wouldn’t be called “write,” would it?

The more I wrote, the more it seemed that Haiku was like the grandfather with angry eyes towering over you.  People tell you he’s a stern task-master with rules you’ll never be capable of understanding, so you hide away from him hoping those angry eyes will now be aimed at your sister.  

Instead, grandfather Haiku knocks on your door and says, “Can we talk?”

You turn the doorknob expecting the fire in his eye to burn you to a crisp while he lectures you.  

What is that in his arms?  A scrapbook?  Now you’re beginning to wonder if a lecture is preferable to spending 3 hours looking at pictures of old people.  The first page is an 8 x 12 photo of your grandpa standing next to a US president who is smiling politely.  A younger version of your grandfather, his eyes lighting up, his smile mischievous, sticks 2 fingers above the president’s head like fleshy antenna.  

You’re giggling uncontrollably, so is your grandfather (who says) “He was such an ass.”

Sooooo….maybe this is a good time to ask the one question you always wanted to know about him.  “Mom and Dad say you have rules.  What are they?”

“The rules are simple,”  He says with bright smiling eyes  “You begin with this.”

Just 5 – 7 – 5 
syllables are all you need
with words that inscribe.

“Inscribe what?”  You ask. 

You smile as he closes the scrapbook, left to wonder at his parting words, “That is your foundation.  Humor, pain, joy or rain–what you build on it is your creation.”