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1 Introduction

'Haiku' (pl. haiku) is a traditional form of Japanese poetry: short, three lines with a particular structure of syllables and mood. Japanese syntax and rhythms can rarely be followed when haiku are translated into English, so the arrangement or number of syllables is often looser within the three lines, and the focus more on mood and impact. We already have a haiku on this site: the Frog Bowl project based on a poem by Basho, so you can tell I'm a big fan!

Haiku is about the moment, about encapsulating a point or place or feeling that suddenly hits you. The haiku in this project is one of my favourites and had a huge effect on me when I first came across it.

I tell the story of how Ryokan, (1758-1831), a Japanese Soto Zen master came to write this haiku in the video, so won't repeat it here. 

Recommended Book, for more about Ryokan's life and poetry: 'One Robe, One Bowl - The Zen Poetry of Ryokan' - Translated by John Stevens (2006 Weatherhill) ISBN-10: 9780834805705

In this video you'll see me sorting out my boards, the glue up and routing out for the mirror. Importantly, I make this project up as I go along, inspired by the wood, the poem and a mirror - quite a challenge!

I'm not expecting you to copy what I do, rather see what happens and have fun creating your own with your own few lines of poetry.

In the download (below) I'll add some notes about the wood, mirror, font etc.

Subscriber download: Lettered Haiku - Notes


| 15 August 2019 14:50

Thanks so much for sharing your love of haiku, which was new to me. After watching videos for this project, absorbing the poem and its story, and then having looked online, my world has been expanded a little more in a great way. Reading English translations of revered haiku masters I have to say you chose a great, clear and well-worded poem. I very much like this summer haiku by Basho:
Their own fire
Are on the trees, the fireflies
Around the house with flowers.

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