Sunday, February 29, 2004

Something has to be done.

Attention all Westerners!

Haiku are not just the correct number of syllables! You also have to include a reference to the season.

For example, let's take Basho:

In the cicada's cry
No sign can foretell
How soon it must die.

There is a reference to summer there. Cicadas are summer pests! Not winter or spring or autumn. Summer!

Here's one by Issa:

A sudden shower falls -
and naked I am riding
on a naked horse!

See? The rainy season! That nuance of Japanese weather takes place in about May.

Now examine a Western sampling from the Periodic Table of Haiku:

brittle alloy
corroded by salt
one hot pot

Salt-corroding can happen at any time! Salt-corroding is not bound by seasonal change!

This is what the Male Librarian Centrefold claims is a haiku:

japanese sento
gnarled bodies as pine trees
age -- my destiny

Sure, Mr. Centrefold, you have references to the transience of life. But in what season are you bathing? Give us a reddening maple leaf or an errant snowflake or even a mislaid cherry blossom petal!

And the Erotic Haiku Collection has:

Guessing the technique
Relatives smile

Come on! Humans mate in any season. Get some daffodils involved! Bring in Punxsutawney Pete! Mention that jack o'lantern voyeur! You have to pinpoint more than the lecherous grins your perverted family members are sporting.

Or else:

Back to your sonnets, soundrels!

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