queen bee picks her drone
guided missiles are drones too
but them’s money bees
Now I don’t think anyone could mistake the above for a haiku … it’s pure satire and not what I’d usually write. Senryu (川柳?, literally ‘river willow’) has been around a long time … even before haiku, which before Shiki was considered a fragment of a renga, which is a communal poem, that fragment was often called a hokku or haikai.
Senryu on the other hand, has often been disparaged as not being proper poetry at all, by the more “serious” haiku poets. It was often written spontaneously or for money as a comedy relief at parties. Now days senryu has also taken up social protest and other more dark aspects of mundane life and has become very serious stuff.
bees hum softly
orange blossoms perfume the air
children play tag
That was obviously a haiku. It has the seasonal words (kigo) the pivot which then takes us to the kireji, the cutting word or phrase which changes our direction and is a sort of punctuation, and which I’m not very good at by the way 😉 , on the other the Japanese have whole dictionaries of kigo and kireji of which the later are nearly without translation, being sounds like “No” or “Ya”. In fact much could be said about trying to write faithfully following rules which were created for a language so completely different from our latin based languages. (By the way, the first and last line should be interchageable according to some schools.)
After the Shiki revform, haiku left the realms of mysticism for many haiku poets writing about nature in the place of religion, Shiki being an atheist and not partial to writing about religious thought. He felt that haiku should be about the everyday aspects of nature in our lives:
He favored the painterly style of Buson and particularly the European concept of plein-airpainting, which he adapted to create a style of haiku as a kind of nature sketch in words, an approach called shasei (写生), literally ‘sketching from life’. Wikipedia
Haiku should be a splash of life … like a pebble in a pond, a concentrated image, without comment by the poet and in the present tense and without rhyme.
The English speaking community who’ve introduced haiku and senryu to the West, have often been very polemical among themselves as to just how many syllables should be in a haiku … some will also get upset, for example, if one uses the “I” or “ego” in a haiku. I’ve read extensively and found for the most part one can become very confused very easily.
From my point of view, the day I can speak and write Japanese, I will enter the controversy … in the meantime, I look to those who write better than I do and try to glean just what makes that little gem they’v written so beautiful, and try to write something equally beautiful.