moonlit pines dimming the flashlight

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mountain heart in the stone mountain tunnel light

In haiku the two portions of the metaphor / simile areusually not connected with "like" or "as"(although in several of Basho's haiku he does use theseexpressions) but the elements of the metaphor are simply setdown in their clearest, most elementary expression, usuallyin juxtaposition tied together by a verb or third image.

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1. Seventeen syllables in one line.

One other variation on this subject is the haiku in which the break occurs in the middle of the second line. Often one finds this in translations of Basho's haikai taken out of context from a renga. Basically you have a two-liner set into three lines. Occasionally one will find an English haiku written in this manner. Again, it is often 'rescued' out of a renga or written by people using 5-7-5 syllable count who end up with too many images as in this example from edited by Helen Chenoweth in 1966 who wrote:

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Anyone who has ever observed a fly at close range hasseen this humorous action of the fly rubbing its forefeettogether, and then the hind feet, which indeed appears to bea wringing of the hands in expectation of a blow.

A cricket disturbedthe sleeping child; on theporcha man smoked and smiled.


7. Write what can be said in one breath.

Occasionally a haiku is written that is so full of possible divisions into what is the fragment or the phrase that writing it in one line is the only way that offers the reader the complete freedom to find the breaks. And with each new arrangement the meaning of the poem varies. An examplewould be:

8. Use a season word (kigo) or seasonal reference.

The usual way we find new 'rules' is by reading the work of others and deciding for ourselves what works as a ku or what we admire. Consciously or unconsciously we begin to imitate the style that 'rule' creates. Usually we stay with a 'rule' until we find a new one to replace it. Because there are so many rules, we all have different set with which we are working. By carefully reading a magazine like Frogpond, you can see which 'rules' the editor is accepting by the haiku printed. That does not mean 'this' is the only way towrite a haiku.

10. Never have all three lines make a complete or run-onsentence.

You need to make the decision: are those a rules, goals or guidelines some I want for myself? This thought is much more gentle to the Universe than saying some haiku are goodand others are bad.

14. Always written in the present tense of here andnow.

For me, this is a red flag that the writer either did not believe in the "haiku has two parts" rule or didn't stay with the rewrite long enough to solve the problem properly. Frankly, I see most punctuation as a cop-out. Almost any ku written as a run-on sentence (with or without its dash) can be rewritten so that the grammar syntax forms the proper breaks. Or the author forms places where the reader can decide where to make the break and thus, give the haiku additional meaning. From this philosophy, I view haiku with punctuation as haiku which perhaps fail to fit this basic form. Some writers, unable, or unwilling to understand the use of fragment and phrase will write the ku in one line. If the author has a well developed feeling for fragment and phrase, the grammar will expose which is which. In these cases, my feeling is - why not write the ku in the threelines it 'shows' by the way it sounds.

15. Limited use (or non-use) of personal pronouns.

There is, thank goodness, no one way to write a haiku. Though the literature has haiku which we admire and even model our own works on, there is no one style or technique which is absolutely the best. Haiku is too large for that. Haiku has, in its short history been explored and expanded by writers so that now we have a fairly wide range of styles,techniques and methods to investigate.