Saturday, July 21, 2007

Colonel Moseley takes a Haiku

What ho! Earlier this week the Mem said she needed to go into our local bookshop to pick up the latest Delia Smith (or was it Wilbur Smith?): anyway, some book or other. As usual, she bumped into one of her cronies from the Townswomens’ Guild amongst the Danielle Steeles, so I occupied myself browsing for twenty minutes as they put the world to rights, dissected it or whatever it is they do.

I happened upon the poetry section which, as you might imagine, isn’t something I’ve done since the obligatory doses of Wordsworth and Tennyson at the old alma mater of my youth.

One slim tome in the bargain bin caught my eye. On the cover it had a picture of a pagoda in front of Mount Fuji, entitled The Art of Haiku.

It seems a haiku is a poem or epigram that has to have precisely seventeen syllables and be in only three lines of five, seven and five syllables respectively, no more, no less.

As an aficionado of Carol Vorderman and sudoku, this mathematical angle appealed. This was particularly so when it occurred that the haikus didn’t have to be very zen or concern snow slipping off the branches of willow trees or the wistful allure of the geisha.

I bought the little book and took it home. Having learned all that can be realistically expected of a chap of my age of this precise form, here are some first efforts with a contemporary Moseley twist:-

HAIKU: bittersweet

Just like a haiku,
Loving you is short, sweet and
Rather hard to do.

HAIKU: Miss Pargeter’s confessional

In my pew in church
I fancy making love to
Frank - and then Nancy.

HAIKU: end of the affair

An assignation,
For fornication – oft ends
With termination.

HAIKU: adieu syd barrett #1 ~ after e.j.thribb

Farewell then Syd - not
Sid James – the one they called a
Crazy diamond.

HAIKU: adieu syd barrett #2~ after chas 'n dave

Both Chas 'n Dave wave
’n rabbit: Gertcha, crazy
Diamond geezer.

HAIKU: half-century

Though "fifty" rhymed with
"Nifty" on my birthday card -
It was really hard.

HAIKU: redundant

Being told to go
And stubbing your toe hurt -but
You're too proud to show.

HAIKU: confession #1

I'm not a treasure;
I’m broody, moody and quite
Unlike Dame Judi.

HAIKU: confession#2

My only real vice
Is Countdown with a Mister
Kipling Country Slice

So, subjects for haikus can be more Oxford Road than The Road to Mandalay. They can range from daydreams to love and from the bittersweet to the confessional; they aren’t necessarily eastern or epigrammatic. Pip, pip!

*A version of this article has also appeared in Birmingham 13

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