End of August/September is a special time. Time of transition from summer to autumn, time when the cricket outside our window sings with all its might, time when the weather changes five times a day, time of shadows getting longer and sun changing angle, so the golden light lasts well into the morning. Time of the nights getting chillier, time of asking ourselves whether we should get our comforters out or maybe we can get by for another week or two. Time of longing for a season that is to come and time for saying goodbye to summer with its delights. In other words – a haiku time!
We had a good haiku week in Sunflowerous House:
1. We read haiku books:
Hi, Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth, absolute delight– soft and sweet illustrations, quiet thoughtful poems
Don’t Step on The Sky: A Handful of Haiku by Miriam Chaikin, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata a lovely collection of poems, mostly summer theme so it brought to mind memories that are still fresh
Cool Melons–Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone, a book about great haiku master Issa, his life story and poems
The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar, illustrated by Ilse Plume, another wonderful collection, with a few poems dedicated to each season
2. Haiku are amazing because they are an embodiment of mindfulness, each moment so wonderfully concentrated. The task I gave to kids first was to go outside and carefully observe the world around them. They brought back the news of first fallen leaves, of a stray cat sneaking into the grass, of a toy forgotten in the middle of the lawn, that there are fewer bees comparing to a month ago…
D. then sat down and write a couple of haiku of his own
3. We learned about haiga (an artwork based on a haiku) and looked at some beautiful haiga paintings in The Art of Haiku book, there is a video too
(Long but interesting article on haiga can be found here). Then I asked kids to either make a haiku or pick a favorite one from a book and illustrate it. Both made their own:
“Beautiful and Purple Flower”
Bees fly over bush
Basking in the sun
An early sunset.
I chose to illustrate a poem by Kodoujin
We are going to continue reading and writing haiku, it is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, a great reason to pause and look around, it is one of the most relaxing poetry forms to me
Favorite books in addition to The Art of Haiku mentioned above:
The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, this book was a great find, it has most famous haiku, as well as less known, notes on poets and Japanese versions in romaji included.
Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years is another book I love to read by myself and aloud
When I think about visual equivalent of haiku– how a mundane moment becomes a beautiful art, Makoto Shinkai’s work comes to mind immediately, so when I am in my “haiku mood” I love to rewatch
5 centimeters per second
The Garden of Words