Dark and Sleet – two haiku and a discussion

Dark and Sleet
a-slush my world now
          winter falls as snow-mixed rain
day, night, all one dark
day, night, all one; it
          is this year's dark solstice; I
sit alone - nights, days

These two haiku originally appeared in my Twitter stream. The first was written as a response to someone else’s haiku; the second built on the first. They capture something of the quality of the winter season we have been enjoying recently. So does the illustration.

Many moons later…

My search engine optimisation software shakes a warning finger and tells me “Dark and Sleet” has too little content. So let’s say something about the haiku as a verse form. Both the above follow the classical structure of the haiku as it’s often seen in English. A five syllable line, followed by a seven syllable line, followed by another with five syllables. Both haiku also have the obligatory kigo seasonal reference (winter and “dark solstice”). Though of course these kigo don’t come from a defined list. So they aren’t real kigo.

I’m not sure anyone would let me get away with the weak kiru in both poems. Neither of them make any real switch. They are all dark and sleet and loneliness all through. Bit depressing really. I clearly struggled to include the kireji in the second line. The first verse has it only if you generously allow me to call “as” the kireji. The second has that awkward semicolon before the “I”

Of course, haiku come originally from the literature of Japan. The syllabic structure of Japanese is rather different. And as far as haiku go, not nearly as fetishised as it is in English.

Here are a couple of my other haiku on the site: The Bear’s Dream / Surreptitiously

[This section, from the subheading, added May 2020.]