It was in an English literature class, while studying Shakespeare, that I first heard of poetic licenses.
Poets breaking rules.
Writing as their heart desired. Morphing labels, forging words, scouring attention.
It fascinated me. I grew up learning to obey authority, as most of us did. And I followed devotedly, setting additional rules for myself.
I hated putting a foot out of line. Always submitted homework on time.
Though I loved restrictions, I also found immense joy in testing those boundaries. That’s why haiku as a poetic form attracted me. It threw a challenge: tell a story with limited words. Couldn’t resist.
I’ve been writing haiku for a while. And I’ve always vehemently stuck to the traditional pattern. A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry containing three lines in the 5-7-5 syllable pattern. That’s how I’ve always written it; that’s the only way I knew of writing haiku.
Until I heard of Haibun—a piece that combines haiku and prose, often in travel writing and autobiographies.
Haiga—a haiku accompanied by a work of art like a painting or photograph.
And haikai—linked verses relating to vulgar, witty, and earthy topics written by multiple poets.
And then I heard of “modern English haiku”.
Apparently, contemporary haiku in English uses a 3-5-3 syllable pattern (with exceptions, of course).
I also learnt that the longer version is more suitable for Japanese haiku because of the language’s natural rhythm.
So after being inspired by a bunch of modern haikus, I decided to give it a shot myself. Oh, well—it’s not breaking the rules if there’re no rules to begin with.