We are all survivors of some sort in life. We have survived “the slings and arrows” of life or problems we’ve created for ourselves. No one can believe that life is always beautiful. Religions and philosophies don’t tell us it is always beautiful, either. But, at least, we can find beautiful moments in our ever-changing lives, either often, if we are lucky, or at least every once in a while.
Haiku helps us recognize and be grateful for those beautiful moments. What a kinder world it would be if everyone read and wrote haiku and practiced gratitude and respect for everything around us, as haiku leads us to do.
As I have said before in my posts, haiku is healing and therapeutic. I am reminded of this every time I am asked to speak about haiku and give a workshop at medical centers. I often give haiku workshops at “Cancer Survivors’ Day.” There, participants are attracted to haiku because it allows them to express their innermost feelings that are sometimes hard to verbalize to even relatives and close friends. We often feel bad about telling people close to us about our fears or negative thoughts, because we don’t want to unload on them. Haiku is a way to release those thoughts.
I discovered haiku by accident in doing research at the library on marketing my other forms of poems. I ran across a reference to a haiku journal and sent away for a sample copy.
I was lucky to have discovered haiku when I did, because I was grappling with my mother’s cancer at the time, as her sole caregiver. My days were lonely and frightening. After reading haiku, I was immediately hooked on it, and I resolved to learn how to write it. Late at night, reading and writing haiku gave me comfort and peaceful moments when I felt life was out of control. Creativity often comes to us when we are going through difficult times.
The brevity of haiku allows one to enjoy bits and pieces of relief whenever one has a few moments to spare. A luxury, especially to a caregiver. Haiku has stuck with me for more than twenty years. It becomes a way of life, and you begin to think in haiku.
Haiku gives hope if you allow yourself to be open to it. Below are two of my published haiku that gave me hope when I wrote them:
after his funeral . . .
the dogwood he planted
after the earthquake
along the cracked wall
Haiku can be written about anything, so long as it is written in the present tense to capture the moment. And, it can be written in free form, without counting syllables in each line. There are about 17 or 18 syllables maximum in a haiku, though I have written haiku with as few as six syllables in one to four lines.
There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how bad things are. Haiku helps people focus on gratitude and hope. It is written in dozens of languages worldwide, and it’s my hope that in the next decades it will reach all countries and thrive in them. That’s why I wrote my book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. It’s a comprehensive guide to helping others learn, appreciate, write, and even teach haiku and senryu, the latter, haiku about human nature. If you give it a try, you’ll experience its peace.
Copyright 2015 by Charlotte Digregorio.