My knowledge of Haiku is limited, but from my minimal exposure to it, I perceive it as a thoughtful and beautiful art form that emerged from Japan. It is not ‘ancient’ as I had originally thought, but first bloomed in the 17th century as Hokku.
This year, I have become more attentive to elementary education as my 7-year old granddaughter attends second grade at the Legacy Traditional School in Maricopa. I was curious and delighted when I received news last week that she and her classmates will be learning how to write a Haiku this week during their poetry lessons. My second journey through second grade with my granddaughter has given me an opportunity to learn and expand my own knowledge.
I recalled a book I had recently inventoried in our bookstore titled The Art of Pausing edited by Judith Valente, a poet, author and broadcast journalist who covers religion news for PBS-TV. The book is published by ACTA publications. Yesterday, I purchased the two remaining copies – and reordered more – one for my son and his daughter, the other for myself. The book is subtitled Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed and further subtitled Poems, Photographs and Reflections on the Names of God. That is a mouthful to describe a book of Haiku poems when traditional Haiku is a mere three lines of five, seven and five syllables per line, seventeen total syllables.
Ms. Valente immediately captured my attention with her introduction, Pauses Written on Our Days. She encourages people to write a Haiku each day.
“It is a practice that monastic scholar Jonathan Montaldo calls ‘writing a holy sentence every day.’ I suggest they find a partner or partners with whom they can exchange their haiku … The haiku exchange is a way of building community and recognizing that none of us, alone, has a lock on truth and insight.”
I have decided to take Ms. Valente’s advice. I will do my inadequate best to write a Haiku every day. I will create a separate page and post it here and on my sister website The Vitruvian Man. Our page will be called “Dziadek and Xy’s Haiku Exchange.” I invite you to participate as a haiku exchange partner and share your haiku moments with us through your comments. If enough people participate, we will use exchange haikus as a daily post and alternate and cycle through participating authors. We have so many incredibly creative and talented subscribers to our website that I am really looking forward to their contemplative and meditative haiku moments that they will contribute.
I encourage you to become aware of the “haiku moments” in your life, those moments in your day that seem to “interrupt the flow of time” when you stop, look and listen and become more aware of life and creation around you. I will post my first haiku tomorrow.