I recently queried haikuists about this. I think it is often true that when you write something down about a problem you’re having, it either helps you to solve it, or it at least offers you solace.
Personally, “thinking in haiku” often helps me through a difficult time or a problem that needs solving. I don’t need to specifically write about that problem, though. Further, writing haiku regularly keeps me sane, even when I’m not experiencing problems. It’s a peaceful exercise.
When I’m faced with a problem, though, whether minor or major, I usually end up taking a walk or going someplace to divert myself. I always try to see humor around me or in life’s ironies, even when I have a major problem.
Not so long ago, I faced a problem connected with my work. One Sunday afternoon, I decided to do something that would give me a break from thinking about it. I went to the zoo alone to enjoy myself, carrying my notepad, as I always do, to record anything that came to mind.
I wrote this senryu, pronounced sen-ree-yoo. Senryu is a humorous haiku that often reveals human nature, human weaknesses, or simply allows us to chuckle.
walking through the zoo . . .
i keep my problems
Modern Haiku, 41.1, Winter-Spring 2010
Below, exceptional haikuists ponder haiku and my question. They offer a haiku or senryu to illustrate how looking at the world through a haikuist’s eyes allows them to accept life as it is.
Alicia Hilton responds:
Haiku has helped me to express my emotions and adapt to stressful situations. Challenges can be an opportunity for growth and positive change, and observing nature can teach us a lot about resiliency. Here is one of the haiku I wrote when I was facing a challenge.
to the old mangrove
Modern Haiku, 43.1, Winter-Spring 2012
I honestly can’t say whether haiku saves my sanity, since there is some question as to whether I was ever sane to begin with. I can state, however, that haiku has immeasurably enriched my life.
the ex-football team captain’s date
handsome in his tux
–John J. Dunphy
I try to forget I saw
Modern Haiku, Vol.42.1, Winter-Spring 2011
In this haiku, Christopher Patchel says he writes about a moment of loneliness:
cell phone glow
on a woman’s face–
the long night
Modern Haiku, Vol. 42.1, Winter-Spring 2011
Terri French responds:
After my divorce, I had to redefine myself, or perhaps I should say rediscover myself. Part of that process involved getting rid of those parts of me that were no longer me. In doing so, I found my way back to myself.
trying to see past
what she’s not
–Terri L. French
Frogpond, 34.3, 2011
the empty place
. . . wild lupine
The Unworn Necklace
Merrill Ann Gonzales is an artist who finds haiku to be a form that allows her to extend her art. She finds fulfillment in the friendships she has made with other poets and enjoyment in reading their work.
I find haiku friendships incredibly valuable in understanding each person’s perspective with regard to haiku. In those personal relationships, I found my own voice.
the path emerges
–Merrill Ann Gonzales
flower of another country, Haiku Society Members’ Anthology, 2007
Francine Banwarth replies:
Thank you for asking…this is an interesting question, and Yes! haiku does
keep me sane…you too?
autumn fog . . .
the river knows
the river knows the way, Haiku Dubuque
Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.