Haiku: The Ultimate Wordsmithing

A complete poem is one where an emotion finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

-Robert Frost, Letter to Louis Untermeyer (1 January 1916).

It’s been a rough month; kids coming home for holidays, kids leaving for good, getting ready to move to New York, and getting the house downsized and ready for sale. Emotionally it’s been a roller coaster. Recently during a sleepless night the idea of a haiku came to me.

Me being me I couldn’t just sit down and write one, I had to research what “acceptable” English haiku was. I know that original haiku is in the 5-7-5 syllable format. Originally that was what English speaking poets used. However, over time there has been a change of what “acceptable” haiku is for English speakers. Now we accept a free form style of short-long-short. Poets also play with differing syllable lengths. After reading a bit (this being the best article I found), I decided to write in each style.

Milky Way IR Spitzer: NASA/JPL-Caltech - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Milky Way IR Spitzer: NASA/JPL-Caltech – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

While trying to come up with a 5-7-5 haiku, I came up with the following free form (close to 5-7-5 but no cigar):

space the final frontier
wandering the infinite void
humankind’s womb

I then decided to go back and make a strict 5-7-5 version which led to:

infinite boundary
darkest glorious cosmos
nurturing abode

As you see my mind is wandering to space and it’s frightening vastness and comforting home like quality (at least it comforts me to think about living on our warm little world amongst the vast beauty and infinite possibilities of the universe). This is no doubt on my mind due to our impending move to NY.

Photo by: Robert Emond
Photo by: Robert Emond

But the other weight on my mind has been thoughts about my kids, how they are growing up and in college. I’m also struck by the similarity of events, how my wife and I are now moving out to begin exploring our future once again, just as our kids are doing. These ruminations led to the following haiku (free form):

baby gently sleeps
children frolicking in snow
empty nest

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa says:

    This made me cry.

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