Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hey Q!

Patioboat, that ever funny and ever surprising blog-opus of a once majestically bearded family member, introduced haikus as its subject just long ago to show how slow I’m on the uptake. On a recent walk, watching some birds, I thought of westernizing the genre by rendering common proverbs into haikus—thinking, foolishly, that the form might improve them. Alas! The result convinced me that the effort, fun although it is, removes some subtle element in the real thing. This suggests that a new name for my western form, something like Hey Q!, might be more appropriate. Two examples.

Birds of a feather
Always flock together in
Spring fall forever.

A rolling stone won’t
Gather moss. But winter’s snow
Oh how slow the roll.
The form requires three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, a seasonal reference, and what the experts call a verbal caesura or a kind of pause followed by another meaning. Not quite sure what caesura really means, but I guess I know it when I see it. In the examples above, the caesura, if present at all, rather limps.

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