Haiku Would Your Help Be With This?

Okay, I won’t gild the lily. I could use a little creative help here.

I’ve been asked to do something ... one of my more spectacular failings is that I find I hard to refuse anyone who asks me to do anything. (Please use this information humanely) .

In particular, when someone I love asks me to do something for them, I find it impossible to refuse. No, that statement doesn’t quite tell it like it is – When they ask me, I don’t even want to refuse.

So my beloved Linenhall Arts Centre have asked me to do this and I don’t even dream of saying ‘No’ because I 'heart' the Linenhall Arts Centre in a great big way. The Linenhall is my town’s Art Centre, and they have supported, entertained, and befriended me ever since I came to live here in Castlebar. They have premiered - what is it now? – five of my theatre plays. I have appeared in three plays there (none of them my own) and I… just love the place. That’s all.

So, The Linenhall have a programme of events for Culture Night next Friday night – 25th September 2009 - which is part of a nation-wide endeavour to get more of the general public involved in ‘culture-stuff’. The Linenhall will be crammed with diverse events and opportunities for fun. You should come along.

And, yes, I will be there. Here’s what the brochure says about my bit:

Haiku 4 U
Want to write Haiku?
Ken will show you how it’s done
or else die trying

Fifteen minutes in
You’ll know all you need to know.
A good deal or what?

My brief is to show the good people of Castlebar how they might go about writing a Haiku poem in fifteen minutes or less… it wasn’t my idea but it’s not a bad one and that’s mainly why I will do it. I reckon I will have a little ‘stall’ or corner of a room where people can come and talk Haiku and hopefully give it a go.

I have several valued readers who are themselves established and talented poets and I hope they won’t look too dimly on my little excursion into this territory. Jim Murdoch has written well on the subject, as he has done on so many subjects. Sorry Jim.

Allow me to be the first to clearly state that you could fit all that I know about Haiku in a Haiku. I know this and Marie Farrell, the Director of The Linenhall, knows it too. But she’s a smart cookie, is our Marie. She knows I have an enthusiasm for writing which I’m passably good at sharing, that I will approach the subject from the basement up and that I am brilliant at taking the piss out of myself. These are the qualities that I hope will carry my Haiku evening off.

But, like I said, I would sure welcome some input from you guys. We did it a few times before, with Limericks 1 and Limericks 2, and they were a blast.

Could you write me a Haiku in the comments section or else, tweet me one. If you let me, I will use them on the night to help illustrate how a toe can be dipped in the Haiku pool by simply expressing yourself within the confines of the most basic of Haiku rules. This may seems frivolous and perhaps downright disrespectful to some but I actually have a serious writing point at the back of my head.

I firmly believe that creative writing can be strengthened by the at-least occasional imposition of confines upon it. There!

Take a blank page and write anything – it might well be great, it will probably be crap. But nail yourself to a subject and a point of view and a timescale and a tone and a setting and… the end result will be more focused, considered, and points will arise along the writing of it that you never thought would occur.

Anyway, I’ve lost you, I know. If you’re still here, please write me the simplest of Haiku – three lines, 5 syllables in the first, seven in the second and another five in the third. Tweet it or comment it and let me use it for Friday – all copyright remains with you of course – it’s not really Haiku at all but it’s a toe in the door of the form and that, for now, might be enough.

If you want a subject for your poem, here’s a couple of possibilities, Autumn, Myself, Swine Flu, Impotence, cinema-talkers and grass. (I thought of those as I wrote them, can you tell?)

Look, I’ll have a go at a few, ‘top of the head.

Please movie talker
In between your popcorn crunch
I’m longing to hear

Shout at it or sing
It just won’t stand up today
Better call Pele

Something in the air
Not summertime anymore
Better season nigh

... help?


Unknown said...

Drops of color slide
Off my brush into the world
Through your eyes they live

Dave King said...

Catch the poetry
of any fleeting moment -
the soul of Haiku.

Ken Armstrong said...

Shoegal007: Wow, that's really good - did you just write it or is it a long-created piece?

Dave: This will be posted above me head at my Haiku stall. Thanks so much.

Twitter is also provoking some very interesting Haiku reactions:

Slumped at the laptop, pneumatic drill hangover, writing a haiku.

@Maybeitwasutah :
Underground rumblings. Overground serenity. Dig a hole for light.

@Maybeitwasutah :
Clapping at wee wees. Pretending to call daddy. This is my life now.


(More!) :)

Shelley Bright said...

Last breath exhaled
Chest falls in slow motion. Ciao
precious creation

Ken Armstrong said...

Hot, black and steamy; the glory in my morning; but it's just coffee.

Kirstieh and I just happened to be talking about coffee and... em... morning glory. Don't ask how it came up (pun-intended). She wrote here Haiku and I wrote a poorly-rhymed limerick, recorded here for posterity:

My coffee machine is the essence of morning time joy and real pleasance.
It serves up expresso
which is surely a bless_ oh
and it brings on a touch of tumescence.

Ken Armstrong said...

Mongoose gathering. In black and darkening crew. Inside the sun remains.

Susan at Stony River said...

Castlebar, create
beautiful, meaningful verse:
Ken will show you how.

.... course, I nearly retracted after reading that your espresso was a "bless-oh" ... oh Ken!!!

Ken Armstrong said...

That's great Susan ta. :)

On the Limerick, it's kind of like the word 'Blessing' was interrupted mid flow as a new thought occurred - a thought that made me go 'oh'.


Ken Armstrong said...

@Bohemiangirl: Haiku for Autumn:

It is not the cold
rather on a tilted earth
watch the last light go

Catherine @ Sharp Words said...

Try it for a lark.
It won't hurt too much, honest.
Huh. Famous last words.

Good luck!

Carrie Berry said...

Several years ago I took part in a haiku event. We were supposed to write as many haiku as we could within an hour and each was to have a kigo that reflected a season - the seasonal words were rain, butterfly, heat and fog. I couldn't resist 'cooking up' this grouping to be viewed as a whole. Feel free to use or not. (I like them to be shown in lower case.)

well seasoned expectations

keep your two buck words - it's just
butterfly porkchops

freshly ground advice
if you can't stand the heat, dear
just cook in the nude

my mind's in a fog -
will he want the pea soup or
have me for starters?

the salt of the earth
rains on my parade again
dinner's in the dog

Here are a couple of others:


lizard poised on rock
offers transcendental tongue
fly becomes lizard


bar noir

and a bonus limerick about counting haiku:

an innumerate poet named Sue
dropped a cleaver on top of her shoe
well that’s how it goes
I’ve lost three of my toes
but it’s easier counting haiku!

Anonymous said...

Haiku, thou art brave
to lend a thought to my prose.
Thoust befuddles me.

Susan at Stony River said...

Yeah I got it but still burst out laughing at 'bless-oh'.

And, forgot to say I'll be lighting a candle for you on Friday night! I hope it's smashing.

And, I'm glad you mentioned this because it would be a fun thing to do with my son I think. I'll write some with him tomorrow and see what he comes up with.

AND as a participant in Silly Haiku Wednesday, mind if I haiku your impending success as my upcoming-Wednesday entry? Sure you don't mind. Thanks!


Emerging Writer said...

You're welcome to use some of mine published in the Night and Day anthology by New Island 2008 all about working in an office.

I am late for work -
I park amid the stragglers
halfway to Tallaght

Health and Safety bleat -
walk don’t run, hold the hand rail
don’t fall and sue us

Sunshine at lunchtime
we slip from shadowed buildings
winter pale faces

Phelim wants Mark’s job,
Mark’s more than a match for Niamh
Niamh’s soft on Phelim

Maria comes in -
we stop googling cheap breaks
change screens to spreadsheets

Here are no seasons –
we wear the same clothes year round,
watch weather through glass

What a wasted day -
the afternoon spent fixing
the broken morning

Evening’s clock hand crawls
minute to dawdled minute
time treacles to five

Dominic Rivron said...

Forgive me if I've used it before, or if you know it, but I am very fond of John Cooper Clark's

To express yourself
in seventeen syllables
is very diffic

Jena Isle said...

Let me try Ken,

The falling leaves float
Not a raindrop from the sky
an arid wasteland.

zorlone said...

Hey Ken!

I wrote three of them in my latest post. I'll paste one here.

"Clam Up"

Your tight lips clam up,
unwilling to speak up now.
I’d kiss them open.


Jim Murdoch said...

I've never been very good at haiku. I have a grand total of one that's made my canon. It was the 5-7-5 format that really put me off. Since I've discovered that that isn't a requirement I've been a bit more open to them but it's far easier to write a bad haiku than a good one I find.

Anyway, for you, this is what I did. As soon as I'd read your post I looked at what I was doing, listening to some choral music, and decided I'd spend 15 minutes writing about that and see what I could come up with. What you've got here are four haiku. I tweaked a couple of them to fit the 5-7-5 format but they became unnatural so I've left them as they stand.

I think what's interesting about them is a progression of thought around the idea of life and death. I aimed to incorporate a nature theme to keep with the spirit of the haiku and three of them have it.

sitting alone
the music flows and grows
like the Tree of Life

sounds surround me
like water, like sleep, like death
and I don't resist

long dead voices
alive again in my mind
a choir of angels

alive, awash, a
sound like waves crashing
on rocks, over me

nejomo said...

Thwarted sea of green
Tamed, restrained and manicured
Longs to overflow


Ken Armstrong said...

(I've never even heard of Haiku before but here goes)
Tesco beckoning. Not the aisles of doom again? Show me mercy please...

Ken Armstrong said...

Catherine: This will set the tone for Friday night, I feel.

Carrie: Thank you and Hi! You've touched on something I feel - the exercise of writing as many as you can in an hour has got to be a great one. The basic rules make it really easy to write one and that's got to mean it's really easy to write a bad one. Writing loads should mean that some good will distill out of it. I feel it's a good approach although I feel many deep thinkers would pooh-pooh the notion.

Carlae: Thoust honours me. (I like Thoust... it's kind of 'Thousty') :)

Susan: I do *so* like making you laugh. It's a bit of a treat for me. :)

Emerging Writer: I really appreciate that, thanks. I really like Mark and Phelim.

Dominic Rivron: I'd forgotten that. Will certainly use it. :)

Jena Isle: Your Haiku shall grace my little exhibit. Your writing sails across the world effortlessly. x

Zorlone: Excellent. Thanks so much... emmmm... I hope that's not directed at me! :)

Jim: I really appreciate the time you've taken on this and, to my great pleasure, I think you've produced a wonderful musical work in haiku verse. I hope you keep it. With your permission, I will show it to my visitors on the night. (Just starting into your book... more soon).

Neil: It's really good... it's the lawn, innit? :)

Claire: I was in Tesco a few short hours ago. Your work resonates with me...

hope said...

Just what you need, another one. :)

Step right up and you
will learn to be creative.
Few words, less paper.

Laura Brown said...

Twinkle, sparkle, shine
Those pretty Irish eyes don't
hide what's on his mind.

Laura Brown said...

Hand itches means money
Foot itches means traveling
Head itches get soap!

In Summer it's dry
I live inside a house cause
in Winter it snows

Words pushing my brain.
Does a writer get her wings
when her book is read?

Laura Brown said...

Out of the shower
dripping water and ideas
while I type madly.

Laura Brown said...

Sex, like chocolate
sweet taste, just a bit bitter
it melts in your mouth.

Make what you will of that one. I posted your link to the blog for tomrrow's schedule. I would have written that in haiku but my eyelids are starting to stick to my face. A sure sign that I've been sitting here long enough.

Laura Brown said...

Haiku has just two.
Limericks take a whole three.
Syllables are fun.

Five syllables start.
In the middle spill seven.
Five again. The End.

I've loved haiku since High School English class. Limericks I just can't get the hang of.

Rachel Fox said...

I've never written a haiku...just never fancied it before. But for you...well, we're old friends by now right?

Impossible task
To learn the ways of the world
Nothing stops changing

I really liked Carrie's ones above and Hope's and the John Cooper Clarke.


Reese said...

I love a challenge but am the first to admit that I stink at poetry.

Rolling in and out
Caressing the shore wildly
The waves give and take

And on a personal note...

sputter, gasp and moan
Warm, moist air surrounds me
Add new fridge to list!

Rachel Fox said...

A friend gave me a book called 'The Haiku Anthology' (edited by Cor van den Heuvel). I never even looked at it before but had a peek today. It has a very good introduction about haikus which you could perhaps do with reading before you start on this new stage of your career!

Anonymous said...

The stairs seem endless
twisting upwards into space -
destiny is close.

The corridor looms
long, unaccommodating,
still leading onwards...

The room is airy
but we don't look around us -
the door clicks behind.

Heavy breathing now -
our hands move quickly across
each other's torsos

Clothes get flung sideways -
mine and yours intermingled
likewise our bodies

Urgent, fervent sex.
Satisfying each other,
quickly we climax

cumming together,
clammy bodies become one.
Ecstasy follows.

Exhausted, lying
naked together, so close,
hearts still pounding hard

Peace overwhelms us.
Lust and passion have their place
but love conquers all.

Aerté Du Draumr said...

Wandering the Town
web-cracked glass and neon glare
All of this mine now

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks again guys... it's Haiku workshop time.

Haiku Haiku
It's off I go I do... (whistles) :)

Laura Brown said...

Nice, but could you rewrite that in the form of a Haiku?

Ken Armstrong said...

So. With your wonderful help, I got through Haiku evening and had a lot of fun. Four 15 minutes sessions. I had all your Haiku printed off and posted on the wall. They were perused with great interest.

I advocated writing many Haiku and overwriting them then paring them down.

I also forwarded my own feeling that the final 'line' effectively offers a counterpoint to the first two and that it is a great start to idenitify this counter point. This often presents the theme of the first line with the second becoming a sort of 'bridge'. So try writing the last line first, then the first and see what happens.

People were interested and kind and you guys were life savers - thanks again.

Ken Armstrong said...

Nice email from a Haiku participant:

Hi Ken,
Thanks for all the fun we had on culture night,

Linen Hall Culture night
To night in Castlebar town
Fearful, Frightening, Scream.

Famous River Moy
Weir world renowned for fishing
Don't walk at 3 am

Will submit from our Gang soon,


John | English Wilderness said...

Stone smashes scissors,
Scissors will cut through paper,
Paper defeats stone.

Hmmm... that's rubbish :-( Sorry

Zoe Fell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zoe Fell said...

Animal Boy - your
Wrap might scan at my checkout
I long for Thursday