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Haikus: Undressed a Bit More

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Until today, I enjoyed the comfort of the structure of 5-7-5 lines with a total of 17 syllables. But I'm learning that 5-7-5 and 17 syllables are not requirements. These Western rules can sometimes make a "haiku" sound forced. Too many articles, too many adjectives or verbs and a haiku can sound artificial in its construction.

I'm learning daily what to shed in order to move closer to a haiku's ineffable quality. There's even challenges to write a haiku with no verbs.

That moment of surprise.

As my husband says that Zen sensibility.

So here's my attempt at showing some of what I've learned with a haiku I wrote weeks ago:


New moon's pitch black night

Pine tree branches sweep gently

Evergreen in dark


New moon's melody

Sweeps through pine tree needles

Evergreen rhythm

And, yes, this is just a revision. You might not find it to be an improvement. I have a great deal to learn about haiku. So please share your suggestions. I felt mentioning the black night and darkness was redundant. Human brains have an astounding ability to compensate and experience a heightening of other senses. In this case, I wanted to emphasize that in darkness my hearing becomes more alert. And I just enjoy the sound of a pine tree in wind.

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