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Impromptu Online Haiku Workshop

By Mary E. Adair


On Monday, 15-May-2000, an impromptu "workshop on haiku" developed in a popular Spiritual Chat room ( after the editor was asked how often the ezine Pencil Stubs Online was published and what did one do to be included in it. The following excerpts have been rearranged for clarity and included here to explain the ancient form of haiku that the chatters tried for themselves with such success that they agreed to having the relevant verses and descriptions, along with the comments feeding the creative ambiance, used in an article to be presented in this ezine. [Online permission was obtained from the participants.]

(Chatter-contributors' names are listed before a colon which is followed by their comments.)

LEGS: You would be very welcome to submit something, lovewombat.. I would be happy to publish it.. *S*

Lani: Aloha EveryOneness

Lovewombat: Legs: I'm more the poet kinda guy..or haiku's..allo lani..*Wuzzles*

LEGS: ((Lani)) . . I enjoy haiku's.. do you do the 5-7-5 ones ?

Lani: *wuzzles* Lovewombat *S* *Night rainbow shimmers/the wind falls silent in awe/magic walks the night*

LEGS: beautiful haiku, Lani.... *s*

Lani: (( LEGS )) *S* Thanks LEGS .. a real night rainbow inspired that one (the only one so far LOL!)

Lovewombat: Lani, *Distant cloud mountains/lit by lightning tumble out/of sight on the wind*

LEGS: Good, LoveWombat..good!!

Lani: Lovewombat very good . form is better than mine .. meaning crosses the 5/7/5 .. (mine is complete in each section .. not as good form)

Lovewombat: Lani: mine was better cause the phrase/wording was broken up?

Lani: Lovewombat your 'sentence' carried over from the 7 to the 5 .. in mine the five is a complete thought .. so is the 7 and the other five .. in yours the thought is complete ONLY after the last five .. it is a continuous thread (mine isn't) Distant cloud mountains lit by lightning tumble out of sight on the wind .. that, as far as I know, is the highest form of haiku

Lovewombat: Lani: wow..umm..ok..I never realized that is was like that. I just enjoy making the images..and the structure..

LEGS: *all poets write some/saying something is more Rare/writing doesn't rhyme..*

scarlett: *Bright shining moon/lights the night garden/fairies dance and play.*

LEGS: 4-5-4.. scarlett.. for the timing.. make it syllable

scarlett: Gemini has a way with words..perhaps I will change it to toads..instead of fairies..

LEGS: scarlett, didn't mean to sound mean.. it is hard to stop editing sometimes.. meant to be helpful..

scarlett: not taken that way at all, don't worry about it

Lovewombat: *Tumultuous winds/Stroke the face with quick razor sharp/claws lightly dancing*

Lani: Lovewombat ooops 5/8/5 but that carries too

scarlett: does that leave one lightly bleeding?

Lovewombat: 5-7-7 is a haiku..but I know there is another form it's like 7-11-7 I think..I can't remember

Lovewombat: 5-7-5 is the haiku...that was a typo..the 5-7-7..

Lani: to 5/7/5 it.. *Tumultuous winds/Stroke the face with razor sharp/claws lightly dancing*

Lovewombat: It really is cool how haiku's work..

"In Japanese, tanka is often written in one straight line, but in English and other languages, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units: 5-7-5-7-7."

Lovewombat: That's like a super haiku..grin.. and..

"Many writers of English-language tanka use less than 31 syllables to achieve the form in English. American Tanka publishes tanka of five lines that are concise and evocative, are true to the purpose and spirit of tanka, and echo the original Japanese rhythm and structure.

"haiku is a short poem that originated in Japan. It began as the hokku or first link of a renga which was a series of linked poems. haiku is attentive to time and place and uses plain language. The resonance in haiku comes from the juxtaposition of ideas to bring about an "Aha" moment in the mind of the reader. The format in Japanese is 5-7-5 syllables on three lines and has a seasonal word. The foreign language writer usually strives for the essence of haiku without strict adherence to the 17 syllable count."

Lani: *Lovewombat found a / haiku website me thinks and / is copy pasting*

Lovewombat: Sorry..hehehehe..I thought it was a good definition

Lani: ok . better form .. *Lovewombat found a / haiku website this Spring and / is copy pasting*

Lovewombat: *It's amazing what/you can find on the internet/ if you do a search*

LEGS: *Crows like question marks/ puntuate the telephone / wire sentences sent*

Lani: Legs, one too many - last 5 is a 6 *S* *Crows like question marks / punctuate the telephone / wire sentences*
..wire is a two syllable word 'y er'

LEGS: 'waahl,' it is more like one in Texas.. 'wah(r)'.. *g* but yes.. you are right.

Lani: LEGS *g* .. yeah .. where there is a difference, the syllable stuff is in the saying not the written (apparently) .. if what I was taught is correct

scarlett: caw caw

LEGS: changing wire to line.. *G* which I started to write.. *laughing* *Crows like question marks/puntuate the telephone / line sentences sent.*

Lani: LEGS that works LOL!


LEGS: grin..I like it

Lovewombat: *Seagull Sentinal/Stands on a lightpole watching/sleeping cadillacs*

Lani: Lovewombat you have a gift !! haiku is a difficult form, particularly in English .. apparently it's somewhat easier in Japanese (but I wouldn't swear to it) .. my first net friend was an English professor in North Carolina . he taught me haiku (well he taught well . I learned sort of) *S*

Lovewombat: In high school I did "death" haiku..the creative writing teacher told me to be more traditional..hehe

scarlett: death haiku - it could convey beauty *s* it is a part of life after all

Lovewombat: Scarlett: I was writing about like the cuff: *arrows piercing skin/doctors scalpel cutting skin/death's beckoning hand*

scarlett: ouch..I see why your teacher may have found that disturbing, love..fairly morbid

Lovewombat: I write them on paper..hehehe..sometimes off the cuff..but mostly on paper.. *giggle*

Lovewombat: Scarlett; but realistic..I mean I was a gamer..hehe..AD&D has warped my mind..fertile imagination and all..hehe..
I was a precocious youth..with too much intelligence for the classes I had..I was bored to death in high school… o' so many moons times passaged trunk.

Lani: Lovewombat school boredom is deadly for many .. they drop out .. not because they can't do the work but because they are bored out of their minds .. and its usually those who are not content to be taught WHAT to think .. they want to learn more and more ways of HOW to think . . .critical thinking which is not the same as criticizing everyone who doesn't agree with one's own thinking LOL!! *WEG*

Lovewombat: Lani: critical thinking is something they should teach..but some parents don't want their kids to learn it cause they think maybe they'll rebel or some such..

scarlett: in high schools it is..stay within the lines children

scarlett: and the lucky ones learn to rebel while appearing to stay with-in the lines

LEGS: *smiling.. scarlett*.. that is almost a haiku.. *the lucky ones learn/ to rebel while appearing / to stay with-in line*

Lovewombat: *And yes, it was *stay within the lines/..but he was a good teacher/..did let us stray some..*

Lani: scarlett and there is nothing wrong with having to learn some basic facts!!

Lani: Lovewombat some of the haiku I've seen have been 'shudder' time stuff too (sheesh how 'traditional can one get LOL haiku is ancient! but of course it ain't 'merican') *g*

scarlett: poetry is not my forte, free verse comes easier

Lovewombat: All these are free the top of my the way..just using haiku as a form.

Lani: scarlett haiku is a difficult (for most people) form but very beautiful *S* .. it takes a certain mind set but once one gets into the rhythm of it, it can flow .. it's sort of an 'internal twist' is how I 'felt' it

Lovewombat: * Pale white Moonlight beams/Shine down bathing her breasts in/a passionate glow*

Lani: Lovewombat these are wonderful *VBS*

scarlett: *in on-line chat rooms/ we seek to form lovely verse/ laughing all the way*

Lani: scarlett *VBS*

LEGS: very good scarlett.. like that one.. *S*

LEGS: *Gray Shrouded Winter/Swoops In to Chill and Freeze us/ With His Icy Blasts..*

scarlett: let's have something about springtime..winter is over

Lani: I'm going to just sit back and listen .. this is great *VBS*

Lovewombat: *Laughter cascades from/the soul like a torrent of/fire from the furnace*

Lani: Lovewombat wow ..

scarlett: Love, I like that are quick ..hi curious..can you haiku

curioustoo: scarlett hi-used to know what haiku meant exactly somewhere around 10 yrs old but forgot please demonstrate

Lani: curioustoo 5/7/5 syllables .. and if the thought 'crosses' over to the next group its a higher form than 'night rainbow shimmers/the wind falls silent in awe/magic walks the night' (that is a simpler form where the 5 7 and 5 are each complete thoughts)

scarlett: the basic form is 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 again.
*Spring's warm breath comes/rising from its hidden home/ flowers bloom once more*
Lovewombat has been delighting us with his(?)wit.

Lani: *can you haiku new/comer if you can you are/very welcome here*

Lovewombat: *Dreaming dogs lay a/sleep leap for treats from their mas/ters outstretched hands*

Lani: Lovewombat LOL .. now we're 'splitting words' *giggle*

curioustoo: *never before / I had not intended it / should end so quickly*

Lani: curioustoo good start .. add another syllable to the first '4'

Lovewombat: *Secret Flowers Bloom/ as winter pulls back her cloak/and the sun rises*

scarlett: ohh..secret flowers are as good as magical cookies *S*

LEGS: Scarlet...that is good.. need one more syllable in the first phrase.. perhaps "The Springs" ???

scarlett: so mine is not proper form..*Spring exhales warm breath..( rising from its hidden home.. flowers bloom once more* )
that makes it 5

Lani: ok wanna up the ante? .. nature or a season included in the form *S*

Bluebear: *Winter winds blow dust/ from our harvesttime efforts/ snowy fruit tastes sweet.*

Lani: (((( Bluebear my love )))) *S*

LEGS: Good Bluebear.. *smiling*

Lovewombat: I have a haiku season cycle someplace..I remember wriiting it..heheh

Lovewombat: *Passionate kisses/of Spring's subtle lips brings life/budding from the Earth*

Lani: LOL Wombat you already did it !LOL!

LEGS: the last two are very good season ones, Wombat..

Lani: Lovewombat oooooohhhhhh VERY good!

curioustoo: *above the deso/late hills I seek to become/whatever life generates*

Lani: curioustoo .. ahhhh , "whatever life is?" 5/7/5

curioustoo: Lani *S* guess I should get to bed :-) can't count anymore

Lani: curioustoo, I count the syllables on my fingers LOL! hey it's not an easy form till you get your mind wrapped around it and the thoughts/images you've been conveying are lovely .. please continue *S*

scarlett: *Summer birds return/ wings wheeling across blue sky / cycles start anew.*

Lovewombat: Scarlett I like that one..

Lovewombat: *Sacred nipples rise/ as cool winds caress your/beautious soul*

scarlett: Love ..that one stirs great feeling. I am an on-line novice..what is *bow*

Lovewombat: Scarlett..a bow is a bow..{bows} see? :) it's an honourific..:)

scarlett: mind is bending to it readily..

Bluebear: *Nighttime joy hammers/ small seeds into fertile flesh/ new child's life begins.*

Lani: Bluebear (blush) *S*

scarlett: I see..thank you and (blush) erotic haiku bluebear? is the merry month of may..

Lani: scarlett in case you don't know .. Bluebear is my husband (we fell in love online) .. and yes .. we're a two puter family *S* scarlett, you should read the poem he had written and then read to me our first day/night together in 3D's posted on the Wedding Photos page at my website *S* (it worked) *S* .. the direct addy is

scarlett: lani..I would like to read it.

Bluebear: scarlett -- I have the poem Lani mentioned up on my site too . . . go to --

Lovewombat: [grins at Bluebear]

Lovewombat: * haikus resting on/the soul burst forth like winged/birds from swaying trees*

Lani: Love thats wonderful! wow .

Bluebear: *Rain falling from clouds/ interrupted by green branch/ then resumes journey.*

curioustoo: *tremblous petals soaked/from sky spreading widely out/taking wrath with it*

Lani: curioustoo ..I think he's ?? she's ?? GOT IT .. by jove I think she's got it (sounding like rex harrison in my fair lady) *grin*

curioustoo: Lani: Spoke too soon! 6 in first line ;-( "she" for the record

Lani: curioustoo thanks .. *S* .. funny how little gender matters online .. being to being .. *S*

Lani: curioustoo it's a fun form to play with especially in a group .. I sure hope this happens again .. it just sort of sprang up spontaneously ((hugs)) and hope to see you playing with it more *S* (an English professor in N.C. who was my first online friend taught the form to me . I'm not very good at it but I remember all he said about the form and can at least help others with it if needed *S*

Lovewombat: *Trembling fingers reach/to embrace thy silky thighs/as magic shines through*

curioustoo: never... *from whence they came we / are moving our thoughts towards / oneness in spirit*

Bluebear: *Dark is Light unborn/ God sends Love to Brighten All/ With Light, Darkness ends.*

scarlett: Ah, Bluebear..that one I am saving. It is very appropriate for my life right now

scarlett: *Small green seedling/bursts forth into bright sunshine/ growing into life.*

Bluebear: *smile* . . I'm glad, scarlett . . I like your's too

Lovewombat: *Gentle Breezes Hint/of distant thunderings/as clouds scuttle by*

Bluebear: *Caterpillar shrugs/ as butterflies flutter by/ Metamorphosis*

Lani: Bluebear LOL .. love it *giggle*

Lovewombat: *Bob the cat settles/into the couch like a sack/of ripe potatoes*

Bluebear: Lovewombat . . enjoying your's very much too

scarlett: my form seems to need's only 4 syllables in first verse..but I am enjoying the creativity..

Lani: scarlett, it takes time .. its not an easy form for most of us .. but then there are those like Lovewombat and Bluebear ..wordcrafters extordinaire

Lovewombat: I am enjoying your's too Bluebear...:) you got a good flair. :)

curioustoo: *on the verge of light / must meet maker of slumber / as eyes weigh down thoughts *

Lani: sweet dreams curioustoo (( hugs )) glad you came in to play with us *S*

scarlett: *sleepy web surfers/giggle with some new friends/soon we all need sleep *

Lovewombat: *Dancing bobbing notes/seemingly innocent stare/as energies flow*

Bluebear: *Skin caresses skin/ Blood rushes in warming blush / the joy of night sounds.*

Lovewombat: *Crafty synergies/sparkle during halftime of/eternities game*

Lani: *S* .... *S* .. . *S* ... *S* ....Lovewombat .. ooooooooo love it!!!!

Lovewombat: *orgasmic kisses/dance delicately across/her bare blushing breasts*

Lovewombat: [grins]

Lani: Lovewombat *S*

scarlett: I keep dropping syllables. I did go read his poem to you, Lani it is beautiful. I think it would melt me too. *VBS*

Lovewombat: *Scarlett's words begin/to dance to the rhythmic rush/of the incoming tide *


    *smouldering scarlett...
      sensual spirits strive...
        seeking sure soulmates*

(editor's suggestion:

    *Scarlett's smouldering/
      spirit strives sensually/
        seeking sure soulmates*)

Bluebear: wonderful, scarlett, an alliterative haiku!

Lani: scarlett by george I think she's got it *giggle* .. *VBS*

Lovewombat: We are a dangerous thing - this magical haiku spiritweb gang of three . .

LSeeker:Howdy, was wonderin' if I could join you all over here?

scarlett: Lseeker..all are welcome..join us in relearning haiku

Lani: LSeeker of course .. we're playing with haiku *S*

Lovewombat: *Come in the water/is fine and the Dolphins song/echoes loudly still*

LSeeker: Thanks all, I didn't mean to disturb. I'm not even sure I know what haiku is.. But I'll enjoy just listening for awhile. *S*

Lovewombat: Lani: I think a hoot would be to use colloquialisms in a know "hankerin'" or "fairPiece"...that would be a challenge.

Bluebear: *Child Time crawls and crawls/ speed picks up and strolls along/ speeding through old age.*

Lani: Bluebear oh .. yup *S* ..ok .. I can't resist ..
*grow old along with / me the best is yet to be / journey in joy, si!*

scarlett: many are here..are we nuts? I'm having too much fun to go to bed..5 syllables..7 syllables..5 again try it

Lani: LSeeker the pattern is 5/7/5 syllables .. just listen for a bit and then try it .. we'll help . . its fun and once you get your mind wrapped around the form it starts to flow *S*

scarlett: *new haiku learning/laughter sounds on spiritweb/remembering truth*

Bluebear: LSeeker, haiku is an Oriental poetic form . . . one variation of which is a three-line poem of 17 total syllables in the form of 5-7-5 . . the poem should have an overall thought, but each line may also be complete as well.


    *Slimey snails slither/
      slowly sensuously as /
        seagulls sing above*

Lani: LSeeker, as Bluebear says .. the 'higher form' (harder) is when the thought runs thru the entire haiku .. as most of Lovewombats and Bluebear's do *S* but its perfectly ok for it to be like this one:
*night rainbow shimmers / the wind falls silent in awe / magic walks the night *..
(5/7/5 but each a complete thought)

Bluebear: *Lovewombat pens well/ scarlett learns to play with words/ so haiku evolves*


    *Satiated Sealions/
      lounge lazily longing
        for/freshly flown in fish*

Lani: Lovewombat ROFL!

Lovewombat: [bows] . . That was a tough one...alliteration in each line

Lani: Lovewombat brilliant! LOL! I'm still laughing

scarlett: *summer comes slowly/spreading her fresh green mantle/ alight with fireflies*

Lani: scarlett *VBS* *applause*

Lovewombat: I liked that one Scarlett..:)

Lani: *I wasn't looking / for a husband I was just / surviving Winter*

Lovewombat: *Shamen learns magic's/call as seasons cycle thrall/heeding nature's rules*

Lani: ROFL!! this is wonderful .. THANK YOU !! *S*

LSeeker: *Enjoy Listening/Evolving to Miracles/Entrapped Magic*

LSeeker: Ok *S* So I'm not so good

Lani: LSeeker *VBS* *applause*

Lani: *wolves haunting howling / cuts through the night as she calls / to guide home her mate*

Lovewombat: Ooooo...wolfie haiku

scarlett: *what I thought was/ happening to me now/ turned into joy*

Lani: LSeeker you should have seen my first attempts LOL! Lovewombat has done them before .. Bluebear has too .. I've 'tried' .. having more luck now

LSeeker: *A breeze to please me/ In sunset hour's rhyming time/Leaves all spun and done*

LSeeker:Was that a bit better?

scarlett: Lseeker..I have improved greatly in these few short hours. We have some good teachers here.

Lani: scarlett *VBS*

Lovewombat: Your getting the hang of it Lseeker..yes you are

Lani: LSeeker *VBS* *applause*

Lani: (( Lovewombat )) THANK YOU *bows* this was WONDERFUL ..a joyous experience here at swc has become far too rare and this was one of the BEST *VBS*

Lovewombat: [bows snout] you honour me beyond any reckoning poor poet words do not do it justice so..[bows snout again] But I am glad that you have enjoyed it.

Lani: *MerlinsMuse has come / to join our joyous haiku / gathering tonight*

LEGS: Wombat, you are really good at this, as Lani said.. and I would be happy to see a set.. submitted.. o.k.?

LSeeker: * Wish washing of dream/Touching deeply while sleeping/Soothing Sensation*

LSeeker: Lani Your not the only one! *lol* . . Not exactly the poetry writing I"m good at. *lol*

Lani: *damn I think I am / infected by the haiku / bug now too oh joy*

LSeeker: lovewombat Thanks for sharing! *S* {{HUG}}

Lani: *it is funny once / you wrap your mind around its /form it seems to flow*

Lovewombat: *bows snout to Lseekr* My pleasure.haiku is fun..

LSeeker: * My mind in shambles/Chaotically Cursed/But spirit flies high*

Lani: *frozen-moon has come / to join our joyous haiku / gathering tonight*
(greeting in haiku style a passing thru chatter)

LSeeker: Ok did I goof? Is Chaoticaly 4 or 3?..AND it was meant to be "/And Chaotically Cursed/"

Lani: chaotically cha ot ic all y . . . 5 ..? . . . hmm or cha ot ic ly .. 4

LSeeker: *Walking down my path/heavenly earth has no wrath/Only singing laugh *

LSeeker: *Mind is Exploding/In Rhyming of this haiku/Too washing away*

Lani: LSeeker *S*

Lovewombat: Whew..this is taking a lot of energy..hehe..

Lani: Lovewombat yes it does *S* .. and it is wonderful and fun *S* you've been at it for over an hour and a half, dear *S*

Lovewombat: Lani: has it been THAT long?

Lani: Lovewombat I've been online for one hour and forty one minutes and I came in here within the first 5 minutes online and you started very quickly after that

Lovewombat: I've not done haiku's in ages..but it's like learning to ride a bike I never forget..I used to write em all the time..

Lani: I sort of suspect this haiku thing will happen again though *S*

Lani: oh .. I'm fading fast here .. more tired than I realized .. but we've been doing haiku for over 2 hours!!! YIKES .. time flies etc (( LSeeker )) I think I'm going to toddle off to bed

Lovewombat: *I think though it is/time for lovewombat to sleep/perchance to dream of*

scarlett: * I sleep to dream of/magic moons and fairy rings/glowing in the night*

scarlett: love, has been wonderful. It's my first time in a chat room, so its news to me that it isnt always so positive. I said the moon was strong tonight...sweet dreams

Lovewombat: [bows snout to Scarlett] thank you for sharing...[trots over and gives her a cookie] I will scamper down into my den now...[scampers] :) good night all...:)

scarlett: Love thank you for the cookie. Lani I have enjoyed it greatly. Thank you everyone! :)

Lani: scarlett, lovewombat..sweet dreams *S*

LSeeker:Lani And I missed most the fun!Oh well, maybe next time. Thanks for letting me share..

Lani: LSeeker it might be worth reviewing tomorrow .. some really good ones from Lovewombat and from Bluebear (( hugs ))

LEGS: *s*...In summary, I think the real pleasure of haiku is the accomplishment of conveying thought concisely within the form, evoking a picture with the phrase. Beautiful words are a plus. See more of Bluebear's haiku's in "More Haiku" this month. Perhaps you, too, would like to haiku with a friend or for your personal pleasure.  

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