Word play

Haiku 2

True haiku is a Japanese verse in three lines, a mood poem that uses no metaphors or similes. The first line has five syllables; the second, seven; and line three has five syllables again.

Following is an English translation of a famous haiku (which, of course, follows the rules in Japanese but only occasionally–and accidentally–in translation):

My life,
How much more of it remains?
The night is brief.
~ Masaoka Shiki ~

And another:

Winter seclusion –
Listening, that evening,
To the rain in the mountain.
~ Kobayashi Issa ~

And yet again:

Consider me
As one who loved poetry
And persimmons.
~ Masaoaka Shiki ~

I think haiku are beautiful.  They conjure images that perch lightly  in the mind, tickle the imagination, touch the heart.

Once in a while, when I’m lying in bed at night waiting for sleep to come, playing with words and images in my head as I often do, something vaguely similar to haiku–little one-liners, really–pop up virtually entire, to my delight.

In fact, they please me so much that I’ve taken to grabbing pen and paper and writing them down.  A quick polish and they become small word gems, awaiting my pleasure.

Diamonds?  Oh no, nothing so fancy as that.  Cubic zirconia, more likely.  Come to think of it, cubic zirconia is more my style than diamonds anyway.

No matter. I think of them as haiku in spirit, if not in fact, these little word pictures that burble up every now and again as I lie there in the dark, relaxed and comfortable:

free storm clouds adj







Anger, low on the horizon,
rolling across the landscape,
crushing everything in its path.

Cubic Zirconia adj

Prism, sparkling crystal prison.
Rainbow lights await
the sun to set them free.

paper lantern adj

Passion, sharp tongue of flame
licking the edge
of a paper lantern.

Is my unconscious sending up message balloons, or am I simply playing word games in that soft grey area between waking and sleep?

Either way, I’ve begun to pay attention, if for no other reason than to watch the way my mind moves when I’m relaxing.