On this day in 1694, Japanese Haiku master Basho died. Born Matsuo Kinsaku in Kyoto, Japan, the poet began to write under the pseudonym Basho in 1680 after one of his students presented him with a gift of basho (banana) trees. Clearly, this was an appropriate gift for a writer’s who was centered on close observation of the natural world.
Basho adapted the haiku from a longer form called haikai no renga, which opened with a hokku, or “startling verse,” made up of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
In the cicada’s cry
There’s no sign that can foretell
How soon it must die.
Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening!
In a world of one color
The sound of wind
Today’s Challenge: Seventeen Syllables of Insight
What are the key elements of writing a haiku?
-The focus of haiku is sensory imagery that describes your observation of nature
-You don’t have to name a specific season, but you should use a “season word” (In Japanese it’s called a kigo) that gives a clue to the season you are writing about.
-Also, since you are trying to capture a moment in time — the now — write in present tense and don’t worry about writing a title.
Quotation of the Day: Haiku lets meaning float; the aphorism pins it down. –Mason Cooley