Monday, November 2, 2009

"High School Haiku"

Back in the early 1970's I was in a "Far Eastern Studies" course at Simsbury High School in Simsbury, Connecticut which was taught by Mr. Cararini. With a name like mine (Rickshaw) I probably felt it was a sign to investigate the mysteries of the oriental culture. I've always liked Chinese food and even tonight for my birthday dinner at "Clancy's "restaurant in Dennisport on Cape Cod I ordered the "Asian Medley" entree.

One day in class back then Mr. Cararini read a short poem known as a "haiku" and asked the class from which country did this poem originate and why did we answer his question the way we did? This short poem spoke of the mountains and the sea among other things. One of my classmates said something like "I think this poem is about China because China borders the China Sea and there are mountains in China." Mr. Cararini responded, "Yes, that is true but India and Japan also have exposure to the Sea and also have mountains. " A few other fellow students also gave their answers and explanations only to be reminded that all three of the major "Far Eastern" countries also had the same attributes.

I raised my hand and said, " Does the form of the poem itself belong only to one of the countries?" Mr. Cararini liked this answer as this in fact was was distinguished the "haiku" form of poetry between the "Far Eastern" countries. "Haiku" is from Japan and is comprised of three lines of five seven and then five sound units called "on" which are similar to syllables.

As an example of Haiku taken from "Wikopedia" of a Basho classic consider the following:

the first cold shower
even the monkey seems to want
a little coat of straw

Here's a "Haiku" I just composed:

Darkness arrives soon
as the Sun rests longer with
the new winter nightfall

Apparently the teachers talk amongst themselves in the faculty lounge or wherever as the next year I had a different "social studies" teacher and he said to me, "Oh, you are the one in Mr. Cararini's class who figured out the riddle of the "Haiku" question."