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January 14, 2005

Hurry Sundown


I need to learn to look up sooner....

The view from my deck.

Posted by Cassandra at January 14, 2005 05:38 PM

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» objection, that isn't haiku from f/k/a . . . .
A primary reason that I've always thought haiku is such a good fit for lawyers [Read More]

Tracked on May 31, 2005 04:01 PM


AAAAHHHHHHHH......no kidding look up, what the hell is it!!!!!!!!

Is DC burning? Forest fire?????.......get the hell out of there Cass!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Pile On® at January 14, 2005 06:30 PM

Smart aleck.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 07:36 PM

So, is that enough of a fire for your damn barbecue?

Posted by: RIslander [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2005 11:37 PM

Fabulous sunset in the mid-Atlantic this evening, folks. Cass captured it perfectly. Work work (which never stops) stopped dead, and all the folks in the office, the partners, the associates and the staff, gathered together at the western windows of the 17th floor to gaze at nature's best artwork. It's always heartening when, even if just for a few moments, the scales fall from our mortal eyes and, together, we can recognize the utter magnificence that is part of our everyday lives.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 15, 2005 12:29 AM

It was much prettier than it came out in the photo - I wish I'd seen it a few minutes earlier.

We have two big windows on either side of the fireplace, but I was facing in the wrong direction so I didn't see it until I got up for a second.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 15, 2005 07:03 AM

Hey spd, did y'all stop billing while admiring the sunset?Jes curious.


p.s. please accept this in the spirit it was intended, I know some barristers are touchy about lawyer jokes.

Posted by: Greg at January 15, 2005 09:29 AM

new paperback --

the sun sets

without me

Posted by: haikuEsq at January 15, 2005 12:42 PM

Make that a laptop, and unfortunately that just about sums up my life :)

I love haiku by the way - mine are excreble, but we need to have another Haiku contest here. Hopefully something will happen in the news to give us all inspiration.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 15, 2005 12:55 PM

Cassandra, Given your skills in observing and writing, you could write some great haiku, with just a little effort --if you had a good grasp of what haiku really is/are. Since I am always in anguish when I see the term "haiku" misused and abused by applying it to verse that do not fit the broad basic definitions of the genre, I hope you'll allow me to use your pulpit for a quick lesson. (If you already know this, be assured that some members of your vast audience do not).

Not only is it untrue that haiku must be 17 syllables (in English, shorter is better), but it is especially untrue that any poem/verse set forth in the 5 - 7 -5-syllable format is haiku. Most that we see on the internet -- even if quite funny and fun -- is really very light verse, or doggerel. It would be great if you could help correct the misconceptions by calling your next "haiku" contest by another name. Maybe "lowku" or "hipKu" or "hypeKu." ("ku" means verse or poem in Japanese.)

What we see at most internet sites are, when they are at their best, "senryu" -- and, otherwise, are "zappai".

senryu—a short poem similar in structure to haiku but featuring ironic, humorous and/or coarse observations on human nature. [find out more about senryu here]

zappai—irregular poems of many types, including senryu and those similar which do not realize the aesthetic goals of haiku. (from Jim Kacian's Haiku Glossary)

Haiku poet-teacher-editor Randy Brooks has captured the core of what haiku is in a few sentences:

"The essential element of form in English-language haiku is that each haiku is a short one-breath poem that usually contains a juxtaposition of images. Each haiku has a break which makes it a deliberatrely incomplete literary artifact, prompting the reader to make a leap of imagination in order to complete the moment begun by the poet.

"The best haiku capture human perception—moments of being alive conveyed through sensory images. They do not explain nor describe nor provide philosophical or political commentary."

You can find out a lot more about the definition of "real" haiku in my dagosan's haiku primer -- especially concerning the misconception that haiku must be written in the 5 - 7 - 5 format of seventeen syllables. You'll find a more compete, expert explanation about how to write haiku in Jim Kacian's Haiku Primer, at f/k/a Here are some brief guidelines from two of the best and best-known writers of English-language haiku:

Ten tips for writing haiku by Michael Dylan Welch (haiku begin, April, 2003).

1. Write in three lines of about 10 to 17 syllables (some writers use a short-long-short format, but sometimes it’s better to just say what you need to say and not worry about form); haiku are usually not 17 syllables long in English.

2. Try to include some reference to the season or time of year. [optional]

3. To make your haiku more immediate, write in the present tense.

4. Write about common, everyday events in nature and in human life; choose events that give you a moment of understanding or realization about the truth of things around you—but don’t explain them.

5. Write from personal experience (memories are okay) rather than from imagination to produce haiku that are authentic and believable.

6. Create an emotional response in the reader by presenting what caused your emotion rather than the emotion itself.

7. Put two images together in the poem to create harmony or contrast, using words that are specific, common, and natural (avoid long or conceptual sorts of words).

8. One image of the haiku can appear in one of the poem’s three lines; the other image can be described in two lines (either the first two or the last two); avoid creating haiku with three images (or three grammatical parts) because this weakens the energy created by the gap between just two parts.

9. Avoid titles and rhyme (haiku virtually never have either) as well as metaphor, simile, and most other rhetorical devices (they are often too abstract or detours around the directness exhibited in most good haiku). Avoid awkward or unnatural line breaks and avoid dropping or adding words just to fit a syllable count (the poem should come across as perfectly natural and easy; anything that is choppy or unnatural will detract from the reader’s perception and enjoyment—make the words come across as so natural and easy-going that the reader doesn’t even notice them).

10. And of course, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy experiencing life through your five senses!

George Swede has a thoughtful discussion "Towards a Definition of English Haiku" in the anthology Global Haiku: Twenty-Five Poets World-Wide. He outlines eight commonly used haiku guidelines, then eliminates a few to come up with his five ultimate rules of good haiku.

1. haiku must be brief: one breath long

2. haiku must express sense of awe or insight

3. haiku must involve some aspect of nature other than human nature

4. haiku must possess sense images, not generalizations

5. haiku must present an event as happening presently, not past or future

You can find some great examples online of modern, English-language haiku at the haiku journal "The Heron's Nest". I hope I have not overstayed my welcome or bored you silly. I'm as silly as the next guy (even sillier, usually), but I am serious about haiku. s/ David Giacalone

Posted by: haikuEsq at January 15, 2005 03:56 PM

Not at all, David - I saved it to my machine so I can reference it later. I love learning new things - thanks :)

Somewhere in my basement in the 20-odd boxes of books I haven't unpacked is a book of haiku - I'll have to dust it off when I unpack them. I just need to get more bookshelves.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 15, 2005 08:02 PM

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