June haiku

mock orange bushHaiku traditionally begins with a seasonal reference. This goes back to old Japan when haiku was part of a party game. The host often started off the game by poviding the opening stanza (called hokku), and the guests took turns adding stanzas to create a longer linked poem (known as renga). The seasonal reference in the opening line was a way of dating the poem (or at least letting people know in which season it was written). The party poets took their renga seriously, and eventually a book of rules was created, which included lists of objects (mostly plants and animals) associated with each season. The opening hokku written at parties was often more popular and better remembered than the rest of the renga, and eventually it became an independant poetry form called haiku.

My list of seasonal objects for June would have to include cottonwood seed fluffs (first one or two, then hundreds float through the air and collect like snow along roadside curbs), mock orange blossoms (the bush in the photo above started as an unidentifiable bare stick that I almost pulled out of the ground), and shedding dog hair (our dog, Dylan, sheds so much that we’d be knee-deep in dog hair if I didn’t vacuume every day).


first cottonwood fluff

drifting over my backyard

summer I was twelve


white dome of flowers

as tall as the neighbour’s house

began as a weed


white flower beacons

glow as the evening light fades

calling out with scent


fur falls to the floor

as I scratch my dog’s backside

it doesn’t matter

3 Responses to “June haiku”

  1. Renga « Brainripples Says:

    […] Jacqueline mentions that “[h]aiku traditionally begins with a seasonal reference.”  In this week’s Monday Morning Muse, I shared a small bit of haiku to accompany our image of summer morning rain. […]

  2. Rochelle Says:

    mind pics of the past
    a mother remembering
    shared memories

  3. Eye holiday reading « wild ink Says:

    […] June haiku (and haiku’s party roots) […]

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