writeALONG! - 14th September 2021

hosts: Arvinder Kaur & Muskaan Ahuja


HOW TO HAIKU: SHOW, DON’T TELL


Let’s cut the long story short. Poetry consists of images, not explanations. And Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that abides by this principle. Haiku consists of images instead of explanations. And it is rightly said, “The image SHOWS, and the explanation TELLS.” So, when a poet writes a haiku, s/he includes all the senses to show a concrete image on the paper . Haiku demands effortless grace. It shows common, ordinary things and yet refuses to flatten into cliche. In Haiku, there is no room for abstract ideas like love, glory, desire, sadness, hate, and the kind. Haiku always begins with an image that allows the reader to “see” it in his/her mind. Then, another image is added which takes a leap -- neither too short, nor too long -- from the first image so that both the images come together to make a new relationship, to form a meaningful whole.


For instance:

the first image is:

roasting sun


Can you picture a sun-baked day-- the roasting sun in your mind? Now move on to the next image:

the egret’s measured steps in buffalo shadow


—Adjei Agyei-Baah

How concrete is this image! What is the buffalo doing? How do you picture it -- sitting or standing? Look! The egret is being wary and taking slow steps near the buffalo -- to get shade, maybe? Or it might be avoiding to wake the buffalo. A real haiku immediately transports the reader into the scene. Immerse yourself in this scene, in this picture and you shall find a haiku born from what is actually seen, and not randomly thought!


For you to attempt:

Write a two-image haiku and SHOW what you have experienced through your senses without having to speak of it.


Happy Writing!

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