|"No, seriously, you may want to row a little harder."|
One of the things I most hated to hear in high school (besides “I like you as a friend”) was “We begin poetry today.”
Poetry was wedged between a grammar review (of one profoundly effed-up language) and a month-long analysis of Dickens’ Great Expectations (a boring book whose sole redeeming value was that it was written by someone named Dickens).
|"I came, I saw...what the frig? |
I can't see anything!
And I may not be wearing a shirt."
|"No eyes? Big deal! |
You try riding bareback, sissy Rome boy!"
And that crucifixions, Black Plague, Civil War, and getting lost in the woods weren’t so bad if you gave them a chance.
After this extensive navel-gazing, she described the various poetic devices available to us: Rhythmic, Cinquain, Quatrain, Diamante, Ode, Ballad, Acrostic, Apostrophe, Epitaph, Sonnet, Enjambment, Epigram, and Free Verse (code for “unrhyming crap which doesn’t fit any other categories”).
Much to Tommy Spagnola’s dismay, burping “Mary Had a Little Lamb” didn’t count.
|"Feel the burn! |
It's global warming!"
Unfortunately, she wasn’t too keen on my first choice, the limerick. This was a big disappointment, as there was much to be admired in this earthy, succinct art form. Whether on a bathroom wall or on the back of a cocktail napkin, “There once was a man from Nantucket...” displays a quiet genius not normally found in polite society.
Since I was denied my first choice, I more closely examined the relatively obscure Haiku.
The Haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry which was developed in...Japan (I would think that would go without saying) by some...Japanese guys (once again...).
|"I didn't even get the first pony ride.|
And I'm the emperor, dammit!"
Since he was in a hurry to get his deposit on the moon bounce back (more alliteration...I’m on fire!), he didn’t have time to figure out its exact name. So, he just called it a “haiku,”, because “it’s frikkin’ Japanese-it’s not like anyone will know the difference, anyway.”
Traditional haiku consists of 17 “on” over three lines of 5, 7, and 5 (don’t worry, I did the math). Even though “on” is translated as “syllable,” in reality it’s counted for a short syllable, an additional one for an elongated vowel, dipthong, or double consonant, and one more for an “n” at the end of a syllable.
|NOTE: There was room for a picture|
"Death to America!
But, could you send over Snooki?
We're short a whore for stoning."
The essence of good haiku is the juxtaposition of two images with a cutting word inserted between the two. Sorta like “samurai breaks wind.”
A lot of haikus deal with the natural world (“typhoons...yeah...they suck”), as well. Because, let’s face it, the Japanese of a couple hundred years ago didn’t really have all that much to entertain themselves. Sex robots hadn’t been invented yet and you can only watch so much ritual disemboweling before you want to write some poetry.
To me, the biggest appeal of haikus was that they really didn’t have to rhyme. Plus, unlike free verse which-I guess-had to have at least some recurrent theme, I could throw anything down in a haiku.
As long as I met the 5-7-5 set syllabic standard (NOTE: alliteration), I was good to go. Sure, I may not be writing something which met all of the requirements of the haiku, but I was sure to come up with something like...
Five syllables, five
The middle line has seven
Somewhere, a dove cries
Wow, that was pretty easy, I thought. So, I let my pen carry me away to...
|"All I wanted to do was rest my eyes. |
And then eat garbage."
Possum walks in road
Semi slowly rumbles past
Instant road pizza
The more I wrote, the easier it became. But, my conscience began to bother me. There was nothing inherently Japanese about my haikus. The least I could do was write something that gave a passing nod to the land of its birth...
Cameras take pictures
Dinosaurs smash Tokyo
Lotus petals bloom
|"From one man in a rubber suit to another, |
what say we both go eff some things up?"
Wintry breezes blow
Forest creatures gather food
Damn! It’s frikkin’ cold!
Flushed with creative genius, I handed my work in to Mrs. Fluck, confident I was going to get a richly-deserved ‘A.’ Surely, she would recognize me for a poetic wunderkind. Okay, so my poems didn’t rhyme, but they weren’t the mishmash of disjointed free verse crap that brown-nose Donna Miglione turned in.
|But we were stuck with this one. |
Dude's crying because there's no topless chicks.
|Now this version I'd watch|
Finally, the day came. Mrs. Fluck airily announced that she was by and large happy with the effort we had put forth. Of course, Donna got an ‘A’ (the girl’s farts even made honor roll) and even the belching maestro, Spags, got a B+.
Without a word, Mrs. Fluck laid my paper on my desk. I looked down, expecting to see my nomination for national poet laureate next to my ‘A.’
Your Haiku Project
Easy way out, not much thought
Consider Free Verse
Damn! In 5-7-5 format, too!
There once was a teacher named Fluck
A nasty, shriveled old f...
Oops, there goes the bell.