Bryony Doran shares her thoughts on what a Haiku is and how to write one with the What3word concept.
Firstly, I am going to share my thoughts on what a Haiku is and how to write one and then show you how I came to write one using the What3word concept. (For more information on the What3Word concept please see my blog – A Place of Great Inspiration).
Since the time that Haiku were first translated from Japanese, there has been much discussion around what form they should take. For the sake of simplicity, I have taken the most widely known definition:
A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables in total, in three lines containing five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. Haiku do not have titles.
A famous example of a Haiku is:
An old silent pond.
A frog jumps into the pond.
Splash! Silence again.
(Basho 1644 -1694)
Punctuation and capitalisation are up to the poet and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences. A Haiku does not have to rhyme. In fact usually Haiku do not rhyme at all though some Haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds.
Here is an example of how the Haiku is broken down into syllables:
1 1 2 1
An old silent pond
1 1 1 2 1 1
A frog jumps into the pond
1 2 2
Splash! Silence again.
A good method of how to count syllables is to put your hand under your chin. Say the word and count the number of times your jaw drops. For example:
Red is one syllable
Water is two syllables
Piano is three syllables
Click here for more information on syllables.
How to Write a Haiku using the What3word Concept
For the purposes of this blog I am going to use the Hope Valley as my location as it is such a beautiful place. So:
Go to What3words. On the home page click on the map on the right hand side.
Type "Hope Valley UK" in the search bar and you will see a map of the Hope Valley come up.
Move the map around – the red marker will remain static – and you will see three words come up in the red bar at the bottom of the screen.
For example, if you put the red pointer on Hathersage station one of the 3 word locations that comes up is "blog.buzzer.shame".
Pick a location and incorporate all three words into your Haiku.
For this example I used the 3-word location tabs.frames.cherished. Try looking up this location by typing these three words into the search bar of What3words. (Don’t forget to put in the full stops).
This is the Haiku I came up with:
The house window frames
cherished blooms from late summer –
tabs of old colour.
If you find yourself getting stuck try looking one of your words up in your thesaurus – you might find you come up with a meaning you hadn’t thought of before. For example: I looked up the word "tabs" on my Chambers Thesaurus app:
flap, tag, marker, label, sticker, ticket, fob, strap, trimmer
keep tabs on, keep an eye on, observe, keep a close watch on, keep a close check on
I took the word ‘marker’ and I thought – the cherished blooms could be markers of colour so I could use the word 'tabs' as you would use markers. Also don’t forget sometimes a word can have more than one meaning, as in the word "frames" in my Haiku. You can use this to your advantage.
I hope this information helps and inspires you to write and share a Haiku. Please don’t feel intimidated. Just have a play and you will be surprised what you can come up with. I would be delighted to hear the Haiku you come up with! Feel free to message them to me, or share them with me on Twitter.
I try to write a Haiku a day. I find that when I go out for my daily walk I look at things differently in the knowledge that I will have to evoke an image I see in three short lines.
If you would like to learn more about Haiku check out Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years by Jim Kacian.
Good luck and happy Haiku writing!