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chipped sand dollar


4 thoughts on “chipped sand dollar”

  1. It just came to my attention that a comment was added that states that haiku is a 5, 7, 5 pattern. Japanese poets are counting sound units which are not the same as syllables in English. Due to differences in the two languages, 17 syllables in English makes for a longer poem than 17 sound units in Japanese. It is not that 5, 7, 5 syllables is wrong, but most haiku poets in English use shorter lines, though they might still opt for a short / long / short balance. Serendipity is that my copy of frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, arrived yesterday. There are 212 solo poems and not one is 5, 7, 5. From the start of the haiku feature in Pulse, there is a link on the submission page that is active the month of October: RULES OF THE ROAD. This issue of counting syllables is explained there. Readers of Pulse will note that few 17 syllable haiku have been published since the inauguration of haiku in Pulse. So, the syllable count for “chipped sand dollar” is nothing new. I hope this helps.
    Neal Whitman, haiku editor

  2. Definition of Haiku:

    Haiku is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. Traditional Japanese haiku consist of three phrases that contain a kireji, or “cutting word”, 17 on in a 5, 7, 5 pattern, and a kigo, or seasonal reference. Similar poems that do not adhere to these rules are generally classified as senryū.

    This is not haiku…

    1. Hi Mimi,

      Haiku definitely “came” from Japan but the journalist and poet Masaoka Shiki (正岡 子規, October 14, 1867 – September 19, 1902) actually reformed haikai verses, particularly hokku, and founded a new approach he called ‘haiku’.

      Haiku is part Japanese, and part Western due to the fact he brought in what was once the defining characteristic of haiku, which was shasei, taken from the West’s painting technique of “en plein air” aka sketching directly from life. Before the 1890s painters mostly painted everything while remaining indoors until the new approach, and the invention of the ‘mobile’ tube of paint, since refined over the decades where you could put half a dozen tubes of paint in each pocket!

      Of course in Japan, haiku is mostly written in Japanese, in mora type sound units using the “on” counting system. An “on” sound unit is more of a unified short syllable unlike our widely swinging syllables were “a” takes longer to say “at” and “field” is two phonemes but one syllable! 🙂

      In fact the word “haiku” if we go by the Romanised version created by the Japanese for us, not for them, the word ‘haiku’ made up of a prefix (hai) and a word (ku) is probably 4-on, as each vowel is counted. And of course punctuation in Japanese is also words, not symbols, so that they count their punctuation as part of their “on” counting system, so many ‘haiku’ we assume is 575 in Japanese might in actual fact be 573 or 375 depending where the “kireji” punctuation word/phrase is situated, for example.

      Also the letter “n” is counted as a separate sound unit (“on”) in Japanese, so if we look at “haibun” it might be five “on” as we’d have to include the “n” as a separate unit and not be counted with “bun”. “Bun” in English, a savorary or sweet confection is one English syllable but possibly 3-on in Japanese, but equally delicious!

      Traditionally in Japan, where haiku and senryu are written as one vertical line but might be written as three vertical lines (for haiga etc…) each verse is often 5-on 7-on and 5-on respectively. The same would go for zappai verses.

      “sand dollar” isn’t a kigo but is redolent of Summer perhaps?

      Although the symbolism of sand dollars might suggest otherwise?

      “Dead sand dollars are sometimes said to represent coins lost by mermaids or the people of Atlantis. Some Christian missionaries found symbolism in the fivefold radial pattern and dove-shaped internal structures, comparing the holes with the crucifixion wounds of Christ, and other features with the Star of Bethlehem, an Easter lily, a poinsettia, and doves.”
      Lassalette, Hilda (December 1976). “The Legend of the Sand Dollar”.

      The verse is definitely a haikai verse, and whether haiku or senryu or hybrid, it’s still a startling verse in the tradition of haiku poets from both Japan and elsewhere.

      Aren’t some of us both scarred, and scared, at some time?

      Alan Summers
      founder, Call of the Page
      President, United Haiku and Tanka Society

  3. This is among my favorites this year, but I would expect no less of Susan Burch. Susan, I love your writing. The use of the chipped sand dollar works so well along with the question.

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