In the creative writing workshop I taught yesterday, we wrote haiku. This traditional Japanese poetry looks surprisingly simple — seven syllables, then five, then seven. But we found it challenging, a habit of writing we are unused to.
I told the class to think of the poem’s structure like the cage around a songbird. You have to confine your poem, your bird, your meaning, within the frame. Within the constraint, the songbird can sing freely. And then the poem can flow like a song, traveling far from its cage.
I gave us about 10 minutes to write our haiku. Here are a few of mine.
I have been teary Hoping to be understood Fearful of shadows Somehow I miss you Your crazy way of kissing I live on longing Need to swim far out Farther than you can catch me Splashing, laughing, far