With many things taken care of during the past 3 weeks work wise, I am back to more writing. Today, I tell you my account of a Haiku Workshop I went to. And this is straight from my diary…as things happened.
“I am at a workshop to learn about Haiku. I’ve read so many Haikus in different blogs but never tried to construct one myself. Well, I never made an effort to understand the metric. My bad.
Our teacher is a friendly Japanese woman who has travelled around the world and now works as a translator in Edinburgh. She says we will begin the workshop by talking about ourselves and getting to know each other. There are three people each from Japan and China, a couple of Indians (including me) and an elderly Scottish woman. All, but me, are interested in and read a lot of poetry. I have to actually admit that I didn’t take note of everybody’s names and now I regret it. I feel a little anxious that I am not as well versed with poetry as I should be but I am not sure what to expect. Either ways, I am happy to be here…
The teacher then passes a sheet of paper along, with a Haiku written in Japanese. She tells us about the roots of Haiku. She says it is a social activity in Japan…it is perhaps custom to sit together in the evenings and write Haiku together and read them out loud for everyone. She says that the first thing to know about Haiku is that it is not a poem you keep to yourself. Instead, you share it…you read it time and time again and every time it sounds different, making more sense as you go on.
She reads to us the Japanese Haiku. She is very involved as she reads. There is a genuine love in her heart for this form of poetry. The Haiku itself is about a frog jumping into a puddle of water. Of course, I can’t tell you what it exactly is but it’s beautiful. She then tells us two important things about Haiku – rhythm and season. She says it is customary for Haikus to have at least one word in it that indicates the season. She says, in English Haiku, it’s not that stringent but she’d like us to write it the traditional way today. And then she goes on to take a pause and clap a few times. For a fraction of a second I wonder if she’s calling for attention. But soon I realize the rhythm. She teaches the metric of Haiku using claps so we understand syllables. I think it’s a great idea. We all clap along and I register the rhythm a little better with every round of claps.
After some more talking about how in Japan you have Haiku in newspapers, she asks us to write our own Haiku. She encourages us to move around, look outside the windows, speak to each other…whatever can give us the motivation. I like her approach. She gives us the impression that poetry should be an organic process arising from what inspires us in that moment. And that agrees with my own thoughts about writing.
And we all wrote our own Haikus. When we were all done, we read it out to everyone else in the room. And I experienced some magic. Some of us weren’t writers really. We all enjoyed literature in some form, that’s why we were here but only a few of us wrote, at least to my knowledge.
But today, everyone has written something beautiful. And the teacher was right – when we read and re-read our Haikus, it sounded different. We noticed more things, we interpreted more things. It all made sense. There were some shy readers too, including myself. I am not used to reading out my poetry to anyone, you see.
I also felt that for a few of us, our Haiku strangely reflected the space we are in, in life. The inspirations were drawn from our experiences…
And finally, I read my first ever Haiku to the audience.”
“Same things in our sight
Warmth in this embrace is such
Autumn smiles at us.”