Haiku for You (and a small lesson on Japanese aesthetics)

My post this week consists of five haiku inspired by my work for my thesis, a rather pleasant class called “Expatriate Poetry”, and a desire to prod my brain into producing something new.

I have been reading Basho’s journals, which artfully combine prose and poetry, in an effort to understand tropes present in travel literature in Japan since the 17th century. My personal favorite poetic instrument is known in Japanese as yugen. It attempts to name the “subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems” (Wikipedia!). It is a deliberate veiling of intentions – and precisely why many Japanese people feel a moon hidden behind clouds or a flower losing its petals are intensely beautiful, haunting, and poignant. Yugen is something that is only barely graspable by poetry and therefore only a masterful artist like Basho can utilize it properly.

My haiku, unfortunately, contain no yugen, and are only the work of a ham who felt like trying something new. I have found it very easy to write bad poetry.

Newt
Politico-speak
Buying most of Tiffany’s
Claim frugality

A Man in Red Crocs
The best coffee-house
writer since Sartre, in this
small Amherst de Flore.

UAW
American as
Two Cadillacs, I said.  They
felt it was not so.

Frothy
“Man-on-dog” must have
left him with an unpleasant
Google History.

Counting Pages?
A five seven five
Limit would have been quite nice.
My senior thesis.

Always,

Me!