by Ray Jason
It was a most unusual voyage. I was sailing South in search of a world free of screens. Still reeling from a month in El Norte, witnessing the tyranny of technology, I needed serenity. I sought a peaceful lagoon, where people were not submissives - dominated by their TV screens, computer screens and Smart phone screens.
When the anchor was down in one of my favorite hideaway coves, it felt like a great emancipation – a return to solitude and stillness. Within a few hours I was absorbing the tranquility of the tiny bay. I knew that I was truly being cured of the frenzy when the haiku began to flow.
This ancient form of Japanese poetry has appealed to me since my early days in college, when I was introduced to the great master of the form - Basho. Basically, the poems are tiny snapshots of Nature. But in their most exalted moments they speak to the sublime interface of the Human with the Natural. They amplify the often uncelebrated aspects of the world around us that are elemental, commonplace and eternal. And they do so with austere elegance.
The most standard form is three lines with the first and last comprised of five syllables and the middle line having seven syllables. They should be immediate impressions of a real-time encounter with Nature. They should not be abstract and intellectual. They also require simplicity rather than ornamentation. An old adage that expresses this perfectly is: “If the finger that is pointing towards the moon is bejeweled, that to which it is pointing will not be noticed.”