Haiku Trial

Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Mother and two children, Tokyo. Sketched on a business trip last year

Mother and two children, Tokyo. Sketched on a business trip last year

I’ve written a few haiku, that quintessentially Japanese verse form.

Just one point: in the West we think of the metre of haiku as being simply 5 – 7 – 5 syllables. In fact the most common form is 5 – 7 – 5 morae, where a mora is ‘a unit in phonology that determines syllable weight’. If that’s not clear, try: ‘something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable consists of one’.

Ok?

So it’s not precisely syllables. Japanese has some long – not exactly stressed but long – syllables. The city of Osaka is an example. It’s spoken with a long initial ‘O’, and written Ōsaka (o-o-sa-ka おおさか).So we’d say it has three syllables but the Japanese would count it as four morae.

So with that proviso, here are some of my efforts. Try it yourself before mocking.

光る花
記憶減少する
春佚楽

目が曇り
長い黒いまつげ
夜の羽

世界の半分
ここから半年
全注目


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