Philosophical and Other Reflections
A couple of years back, I grew very interested haiku. Initially, because these short poems struck me as the perfect match for Twitter—a marriage made in digital heaven. Besides, how hard could it be to write a seventeen-syllable poem.
As I am wont to do when my interest alights on something, I read several books on the subject (including Higginson and Harter’s wonderful The Haiku Handbook) and immersed myself in several well-known haiku masters, such as Bashō, Buson, Issa, Shiki, et al.
Meanwhile, I began trying my hand at these things, initially strictly adhering to the five-seven-five syllable format, which, I soon came to find out (from online self-proclaimed haiku gurus), was quite a crude adaptation of that principle, especially seeing that Japanese syllables do not necessarily correspond to English syllables (which are, by expert reckoning, unwieldy by comparison). Also, reading a lot of English language haiku I soon realized that both the five-seven-five and the seventeen-syllable “rules” had long since been abandoned by the better haiku poets.
As a result of seeing this particular light, I started to take liberties with the five-seven-five rule but for some odd reason the seventeen-English-syllable statute stuck, it had found a home in me—if for no other reason than that my little haikus (which I soon named Wolfkus for a pretty obvious reason) seemed to percolate to the surface fully grown and in a string of seventeen-syllable creations. And when they did not, say they surfaced as an eighteen-syllable Wolfku, or a sixteen-syllable one, well, then I discovered that when I shoe-horned the longer one into seventeen, or expanded the shorter one into seventeen: the meaning seemed clearer, more definite—besides, it was fun.
Struck by something, an image, a feeling, a thought, before long this seventeen-syllable raft came bopping to the surface (having been let go of by some curious and creative deep-sea Wolfku deity). During a morning’s walk by the Pacific, three or four or five of these Wolfkus might surface, and it was all I could do to remember them until I returned home and to a pen or a keyboard. Sometimes I did forget them, memory like a sieve these days.
Before not so long, many of these Wolfkus arrived more as aphorisms than true haikus, as little containers of distilled perhaps philosophical reflection. Well, since many of them struck me (the creator, or recipient might be a better word) as both unique and insightful, who was I to call a halt to this quite enjoyable phenomenon.
One that still flourishes and seems to have no intention to do otherwise, for I rarely return from an hour’s walk without some seventeen-syllable epigram or other.
Seeing, though, that the earth from which these Wolfkus sprung (and still spring) was replete with impressions and sometimes micro-epiphanies, I recently thought that perhaps it was time to revisit these Wolfkus and examine this fertile soil for what else it might hold. What, indeed, gave birth to them, what carried them from darkness to light? And where did they, in turn, carry me? This is what gave birth to the idea of Wolfku Musings.
And this is the result.
(Actual Wolfku Musings to follow -- Stay Tuned)