Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Haiku by Basho

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is one of Japan’s best known poets. Within his canon are haiku that scholars have labelled as anomalies, largely because of difficulties in interpreting certain characters (or “kanji”). For example, in this poem the anomalous kanji lends variation to the familiar theme of frog-leaping-into-water:

At an ancient pond,
a platypus takes the plunge.
The sound of water.

The kanji used by Basho is the near-nonsense “giant rat-duck.” The poem is one of a series of linked verses (or “haikai no renga”) variously called the Bizarre Giant Rat series or the Wallaby series--believed by some to be evidence that Basho, an inveterate traveller, had beaten Cook to Australia by a hundred years. Others in the series:

Spring at Edo
Cherry blossoms dance
in springtime breeze: so many
angry kangaroos.*

* lit. “rabid, giant bouncing rats”

Beneath Mt. Fuji
Mournful melody
as autumn wind caresses
my didgeridoo.*

* Some argue this poem is better classified as part of the Ribald series.

Starry Night in Australia

Scorned ugly duckling
of the animal kingdom
pipes his song, heedless

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

I am what I am

Some creature - fish? Fowl?
Glides unhurried beneath us.
Names concern it not.

In Praise of Voting

Nice, non-committal
Loathe to offend or decide
Platypus at heart
Wile E. Coyote
was a live birth, an egg hatched
Mr. Plat E. Pus

- by Maddie

Monday, 29 January 2007

Voting Change!

A change has been made in the voting procedure, as it turns out that Haiku Club members are modest and delightful people who hate to play favourites. So, instead of a formal vote, I'll be doing a monthly random draw of the names of all active participants. The chosen participant becomes the Toast of the Month, and (as before) gets a free beer (or other suitable liquid equivalent) at the Haiku Club pub gathering.

(Note to the competitive: the challenge of writing intriguing, witty, or profound haiku is still on, even if the point system isn't.)

Now back to the platypus...

a duck and an otter walk in to a bar

so you need some proof
that intelligent design
is, like, way bogus?

Sunday, 28 January 2007

I had no idea

reveals strange platypus truth.
It is venemous

True Story

Old family friends
Once named their cat platypus
I still don't know why

Charles throws up his hands

This freak of nature
gave darwin conniption fits.
Sighs. "Oh for fuck's sake."

aboriginal legend: how the platypus came to be

Persuasive indeed
was the lonely water rat
who wooed the coy duck

––Lori Langille

This Week's Theme

The theme for the week of Jan 29-Feb 4 is courtesy of Greg and a bit of a challenge––it's the platypus. If you're stumped for inspiration, have a look here for more info on this curious animal. You have until Sunday evening to write and post your platypus haiku (or, to email it to me so I can post it for you).
Trill of morning birds
Interrupts my sleep. But no!

––James Torck
One ringy dingy
Laughter falling on deaf ears
Two ringy dingy

––Kelly Torck

Friday, 26 January 2007

Current cell phones are crap

Press "end" to turn off?
Olden ways were easier
Nostalgia for dials

Dial H for Haiku

Ray phones Grace, listens
as she scissors assailant.
Blonde hair shines. Hitch stares.

Thursday, 25 January 2007


“Hey, Maher, whassup?
Wait—you hear that clicking sound?
Hang up! Wrong number!”

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

it never fails

ring ring ring ring ring
ring ring ring ring ring ring ring
@#!%$&@! (in the shower)

pop culture reference

Mr. Burns, irate,
demands I learn to use my
"telephone machine"

a disturbance in the dark

cell phone at movie
whiny cry of the once-friend
left uninvited

This Week's Theme

The theme for this week's haiku is telephone.

Important Update: The deadline for this week's submissions is Friday (January 26) at 8 pm. Voting by participants on the week's entries can be done immediately after the Friday deadline through to the following Monday (January 29), closing at 8 pm. Votes will then be counted by the moderator (me) and the winner will be awarded that week's point. All info will be posted here.

Welcome to Haiku Club

Haiku Club is like Fight Club, except without the fighting. Here's how it works. At the start of each week, one of the Haiku Club participants proposes a topic. S/he and the others then have until the end of the week to write one haiku referencing the topic (either directly or indirectly). Participants then vote on the one they like best, and the winner is awarded points. Once any one individual has amassed 5 points, all the participants meet at a downtown pub and buy the winner a beer (or equivalent). The structure of the haiku is basic:

Line one: five syllables
Line two: seven syllables
Line three: five syllables.

The mood of the haiku is entirely up to the writer. It can be pensive or frivolous, cheerful or burning with social issues. Any approach is fine, as long as it references the theme chosen for that particular week.

Happy haiku writing!