The unbearable brevity of Haiku

« the haiku is not a rich thought reduced to a brief form, but a brief event which immediately finds its proper form ».  (Roland Barthes)

On the list compiled by the Italian poet Ricciotto Canudo, poetry is considered the fifth art. It creates a composition of phrases called verses, choosing his words to be combined according to precise metrics laws. The poetic Opera is the union between the semantic meaning and the musical sound of the phonemes. Then approaches, especially when it is recited, to music.

Poetry can be very long, as happens in the poems: the Mahabharata, the Indian epic poem, consists of almost 100,000 stanzas. Or very short, as in Morning, the famous poetry by Ungaretti which simply declares: I illumine me with immensity.

Or as in the Japanese Haiku.

It is formed by three verses, short, intense. Their strength is the fleetingness. As a perfume heard by the way, floods us with feelings that only later, we remember where have heard it.

The poet himself is pervaded by that feeling. And what he writes is too short to think again, and a second draft would improve the technique of poetry but would decrease the intensity of the moment.

But, we ask us:

The brevity of this composition is dictated only by poetic necessity or even the biological needs of the poet?

We try to answer this question by analyzing the first haiku of history:

uncontrollable energy!

force of nature!

It’s the water.

It is a Japanese haiku, which reveals the subject of the action only at the end. As if the poet, writing it, he felt a compelling need which could not understand the cause. Only at the end – the water – because of this uncontrollable energy, is revealed. In all way. This haiku was indeed found wet urine in the house of a trained craftsman of Kagoshima. Evidently, the poetic expression has somewhat accelerated the physiological process, which has exploded in the energy uncontrollable evoked, leaving no time to the poet to write another. Everything is done and find contentment with the release of the physiological need. Note how the lines get shorter and shorter, as if the time to write was compressed by the urgency to act. Or better to let act, and become the instrument of this force of nature. Life survives only making itself art.

Thus art takes here a role evocative and cathartic. Rather than express a feeling, this haiku expresses a desire, a need that is fulfilled. Sure, you can say that the need to urinate was already present in the poet. But not with that urgency, that surprise the author while writing.

We believe that only in a haiku this magic happen. Without wishing to detract from the other forms of literature. So why not try to write haiku / desires, to make them come true?

We will publish one that made history. A desire expressed as a joke, which unfortunately has become a reality for all of us. If you want to add more, we would be very happy.

 The clerk of the bank:

I look at her,

she looks at my papers.

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