haiku dawn

by Monty Milne

My objective with haiku dawn is to capture the original spirit of haiku. Haiku themes should be about nature, and the element of humankind should be removed. I capture the moment and preserve it with words, but do not inject my emotions or opinions into the piece.

Concrete images, like "cloudless blue sky," tell a story well because nothing but a scene of nature is expressed, but animating inanimate objects, like "whispering tree," confuse the story because the solitude of nature becomes entwined with humanity and the abstract thoughts of humans. For example, a tree in reality will not begin whispering or talking to a person, but in a fantasy world like "The Wizard of Oz," trees do talk.

The simplest methods produce the most effective haiku - minimalism. I do not use a word like "gigantic" when "big" will serve the same purpose. However, I will use a word like "glistening" rather than "shine" if I am describing a bright, wet sparkle from a patch of melting ice.

I write haiku as an eleven-syllable piece. Early Japanese haiku was written as a single line, eleven-syllable piece. I use three lines - four syllables, three syllables, four syllables - when I write, because this allows me to describe different scenes without relying on commas, periods, or semicolons to break-up separate ideas in the piece. My minimal use of capitalization and punctuation removes further the element of humanity from the piece. Haiku should be about nature, and a season should be conveyed. I don't always mention a season, because the true essence of the scene might be lost. I try not to use the names of months or seasons too much, but they are effective when used at appropriate times. Lines like "hot dry morning" or "bitter cold night" convey the season as effectively as using words like "summer" or "December." The first two lines of haiku should set the scene, and the third line should convey a form of action or take the haiku in a new direction. I do not re-write or revise my haiku. This would prohibit me from capturing the experience of the true scene.

Haiku is both a simple and complex form of poetry. I can re-create an entire landscape or seashore by using several descriptive words. My goal with haiku is to preserve the natural state of nature for future generations of humankind to enjoy.

splat! - raindrops fall
coating leaves
on budding trees

approaching night
cooling heat
dusk settles in

autumn’s first night
smoke-white orb
drops bright moonbeams

blinding orange
autumn comes
with the sunrise

bright July sun
sweltering
greens dry to browns

brisk fall morning
nature’s scents
perfume the air

carpet of trees
mature leaves
breeze blows for miles

coiled maroon
centipede
squirming away

creekbed in drought
spongy moss
water trickles

dark starless night
black landscape
blink of firefly

deep mountain range
overcast
birds flap and dart

dew drips from leaves
seagreen fades
to dying reds

drenched bending trunks
torrent rain
loud wind gusts

early fall night
large raindrops
pelt mudpuddles

flooded creek banks
rain wind silt
currents bash trees

fuzzy beige moon
sticky night
silence makes sounds

grand shades of green
lake trees bugs
loud bullfrog croak

gray-blue of dawn
cool humid
squawk of robin

green grove of trees
scorching noon
thin wind blows heat

green mountain pass
summer breeze
leaves flap quickly

handsome mammal
pale peach skin
pure naked thought

light golden field
transparent
clouds in summertime

light goldenrod
autumn hue
leaf spirals down

lone mountain lake
mosquitoes
hot reflections

moist frog damp rock
clear water
splash! frog hops-in

moist frost on stalks
transparent
still fog hovers

October winds
blow heavy rains
pounding the fields

pale ivory moon
sharp starlight
shoots through green leaves

pink underneath
morning cloud
changing colors

powderblue sky
striped orange
by the sunset

quenching fall drought
clouds erupt
cool gray downpour

red gold rust green
dense treeline
wind snaps and stills

soft wind wet night
rush of wind
rain drizzles-down

steep mountain range
earth-toned cliff
rocks tumble down

still humid air
field of ferns
one buttercup

summer evening
fading light
big clouds transform

sunrays fading
steamy breeze
water ripples

tall still pine trees
not a sound
first morning caw

thunder echo
humid night
silence again

white-and-brown hawk
circles the hill
plunges-down fast

white spots tan fur
full antlers
deer sprint-away

moon reflections
flash cool eyes
slim, trotting fox

brilliant sunrise
late autumn
frost melts away

cold silver sky
shadows fade
when clouds roll-by

December air
light and sharp
blows country smells

starlight beams-on
dark warm waves
twirling starfish

warm late-fall dusk
silhouettes
replace shadows

precipitation
December
splat! splat! splat! splat!

silent squirrel poised
unmoving
bushy tail wags

dark December
after rain
nipping wind howls

bare trees slope-down
fierce wind burst
throws brittle leaves

icy river
coarse gray rocks
minute rapids

dark violet sky
morning light
brings paler shades

early winter
dim morning
damp drizzle falls

fog above water
cream-colored wisps
spin with whirlpools

spotty blue sky
formation
geese honk and flap

iolite green
staring straight
Manx’s eyes dart fast

leafless forest
brown branches
hail bounces-off

scattered frosting
slippery
sleet melts in plains

bobbing mallard
yellow bill
resounding quack

short golden fur
lithe taunt dog
moist nose sniffs hard

calm silent night
single star
illuminates

black dots red wings
round body
ladybug flies

small white cold soft
delicate
snowflurries twist

floating gray goose
long black neck
thrusts through water


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Visual Art by Monty Milne