Writing and Meditating on the Haiku

Hello, friends!
This week in my poetry class we are working on haikus and it reminded me how much I loved my first experience with the form. So today, I want to talk about the haiku! The haiku is a Japanese poem, which consists of 17 syllables, and is typically divided line by line into a syllable pattern of 5, 7, 5. The haiku is also traditionally about nature, however, this rule has a bit more wiggle room. The main point of a haiku is to deliver an image (which is why the subject matter is typically about nature) without explaining it. One of the wonderful things about the haiku is that it provides an opportunity to join together meditation and writing. And if you haven’t tried meditating before,do so.
I know the concept of meditation probably seems a bit intimidating to most of you, but meditation can really be quite simple! If you are overwhelmed by the foreign terminology, postures, and methods, just try a simple breathing exercise. The main idea behind meditation is to clear your mind and cultivate an inner sense of peace. This is often used as a stress-reliever but can also be great to practice in everyday life as it ensures a consistently balanced state of mind.
The haiku is essentially another form of meditation in that it allows us to meditate on an image. Writing a haiku removes the pressure of delivering a description and finally allows the image to become the poem. The haiku captures only one image, yet the feeling it leaves afterward can carve out a hugely hollow space of resonance. For me, one of the most beautiful things about the haiku is that it provides a moment of clarity – you can finally look at the curvature of an old tree trunk and consider it not as a metaphor for something else but as a tree trunk. Often times that clarity of sight is stolen from us when we try to think about what something means or why it is the way it is.  So not only is the haiku a hauntingly beautiful poem, but the experience of writing one allows us to meditate and gain control of that quiet space in our minds.  
So camp out at your windowsill for a bit, or find a quiet place outside (if the weather permits) and try your hand at a haiku! I promise it will be fun, and if nothing else, if done right, it will help to reduce some stress!
I’d like to leave you with a few haikus from one of the masters of the form, Matsuo Bashō: 
1.     Autumn moonlight –
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut
2.     Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread
insects singing.
3.     Cold night: the wild duck,
sick, falls from the sky
and sleeps awhile.
4.     Still alive
and frozen in one lump –
the sea slugs.
Have a peaceful weekend,
Grace
Opus Poetry Editor

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