Haiku and Senryu

stringing syllables
that hold meanings of puzzles –
hand carved netsuke


writer’s chain of words
churned like butter made from cream–
poetry rises


changing maple leaf–
why does the shape of your hands
haunt my memories?


spring leaves hold rainstorm;
low thunder provides soundtrack
for orange-colored sky


bouquet hedges hide
fountains splashing lilac trees;
secret liaisons


algae slick jetty,
full moon slips to silver waves
heron dives for it


South wind off the sea
mist swirls high in soft spirals;
we sail on cloud dreams.


Sap drips sweet down tree;
its leaves blaze brighter than fire.
Ladybug takes flight.


Curling in roses,
secrets rest in deep fragrance,
will open to love.


Snail on a black branch
that ends at the brightest star;
long highway to goal.


In green hay thrashed field,
two poppies lift their faces;
fiery pas de deux!

Posted for Senryu and Haiku article 10/6/2011 on d’VersePoets FormForAll. I’ll let you decide what is senryu and what is haiku.  To my mind the first three are senryu and the fifth (bouquet) if you consider “liaisons” political rather than a lovers’ tryst.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011* All Rights Reserved

Posted for Senryu and Haiku article 10/6/2011 on d’VersePoets FormForAll. I’ll let you decide what is senryu and what is haiku.  To my mind the first three are senryu and the fifth (bouquet) if you consider “liaisons” political rather than a lovers’ tryst.

 © Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011* All Rights Reserved

57 thoughts on “Haiku and Senryu

  1. Pingback: Haiku | Bird's-Eye Gemini

  2. Gay, as I mentioned at dVerse…all are wonderful! But my favorite is the Changing Maple Leaf…I’ve got maple syrup in my veins afterall! 😉

    • That was very personal Natasha. I love Maple (Canadian ones particularly) trees. The one about the Ladybug – (ladybird in UK) was about the flame of a Maple Tree too. I liked playing on the nursery rhyme..your house is on fire and your children they might burn. I wrote Ladybird first but as I’m not really British thought I’d use the American usage.

  3. I love these forms and you explanation is so good, Gay. I’m hoping to write some new ones today. I’ve been “stalled” since returning from my break and have been waiting for your post to get jum-started. I can’t begin to tell you which one of these is my favorite. They are all “delicious.” Thank you.

  4. Incredible… I have a confession. “why does the shape of your hands haunt my memories?” not only took me by complete surprise but gave me sudden tears. Powerful and beautiful.


    • Your comment touched me immeasurably. This was a very personal and poignant one for me. I’m glad it gave you that emotional response. I think that’s what the best of them do. Thank you …thank you.

  5. What a marvelous example you’ve set for us – I particularly loved the secret liaisons, snail on a black branch, the heron, and the poppies poems. I’ve learned a lot from you today, thank you!

  6. Each not in this scale goes just a little higher, and just a little deeper as well. You’re very good indeed at this, Gay–just some breathtaking lines. I thought the second, about poetry being the butter churned to the top, was just about as expressive as anything I’ve read, and all the others already quoted were wonderful as well. Thanks so much for hosting today when I know you have much on your mind, and your plate, these days.

    • Having you and the crew of dverse poets really keeps me going these days and the last week has been stressful. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your limitless talent with all of us!

  7. I’m with hedewitch…in that second one, I especially liked your use of “chains” and “rises” — unpredictably excellent.

    Also, I’m still mesmerized by the photo with “Snail on a black branch” and like the connection to Pound’s petals and bough.

  8. Oh, Gay, my great poetic sensei! I learn more from you in a month than I did four years of college and 40 years wandering in a verseless desert. Lovely, lovely images and thoughts, succinctly and perfectly rendered.

  9. Beautiful Gay. An amazing example of how good these poems can really be. You have encapsulated your words into true art, painting such beautiful images. Thanks for teaching by sharing these.

  10. So much praise – my head might get so big I can’t get through the pub door (and it’s a double door!). My original last line on the first was was “haiku netsuke” but I thought if I did that I was just continuing the first image. Netsuke were fasteners for the cords that carried a sort of wallet for men in their garments. Later they became made of precious materials like jade and ivory and were carved into intricate shapes often as animals and birds. Both the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC have fabulous collections.

  11. Exquisite examples! I understood the seasonal reference in the haiku… now am a bit stumped with this lesson as to the difference of yet the tanka in relation to these… tanka is the longer version from haiku, but can it also be a longer version from senryu?

  12. see you are just showing off…smiles…the churning butter/poetry rises one is cool..the heron one though has solid imagery which i dig…very nicely played ma’am….great job at dverse today…

  13. @Reflections –
    As I understand the lessons Lady Nyo gave us on tanka. The nature images in tanka almost always serve as a sensuous (read this as nearly always) sensual, or love image. Tan renga differ from tanka in that they are derived from the first three lines.) These three 5/7/5 were originally called hokku and then were called “haiku” by Buson). When the call of the hokku was returned with a response of two lines of seven bearing a different image that pivots with a related but completely different image, those seven lines became a tan-renga. Their form looks like a tanka, but they derive from different sources.

    As to whether you could do tan-renga with senryu I don’t see why not. The beauty of tan-renga is they are collaborative. They are like playing a game. It requires wit, sympathy and an agreement on the rules. It’s probably why there came to be so many rules regarding seasonal words, pivot words, syntax, and the hows, whys, and number of repetitions allowed. The prize, as I understand it, was to get to travel with the initiating Master poet. They would go as kind of troubadours, staying at the expense of a village; they would recite these in an exciting performance each call and response topping the one before to enormous applause and approval from the well versed audience.

    • Thank you for the further explanation. I also went back and rechecked the links to Lady Nyo’s lessons. As always, very helpful for me and hopefully for others too. Thanks again.

  14. Such a beautiful assortment you present here as examples of the form. Words churning like butter immediately sticks in my mind, fabulous image. I also love the accompanying pictures, to give the reader a frame of reference, to help him see as you see.

  15. Oh boy. first Haiku is nice…”stringing syllables” holding trenchant meanings….The Haiku itself.

    Butter & cream…the Haiku process…

    the changing maple leaf…becoming hard, and brittle….age & death.

    gee…. reading all of these prove to me, you are great at your Haiku craft. Love them all. so beautiful, so carefully chosen, and such right words, too. 3 Wows for you.

    thank you for sharing.

  16. All of these are so beautiful they make me cry.

    I love them all, but the Changing Maple Leaf digs deeply.

    Tanka, Gay, for these this morning.

    Lady Nyo

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