4th April

Sad Excuse for a Haiku

That lying on the sofa
Too sickly to move
Breeds seasonal confusion.

My offering to NaPoWriMo on the 4th April was a short poem in the Japanese 3-line seventeen syllable Haiku form.

When I posted it up on the NaPoWriMo facebook page I found to my astonishment, that people were keen to reassure me it was a fine Haiku, not a sad excuse at all. I was a little taken aback, that wasn’t the response I expected – I mean, A Sad Excuse for a Haiku isn’t a criticism, a twisted jag of self-denigration – it’s JUST THE TITLE of the poem.

That was the point I remembered why I hate poetry, why I don’t call myself a poet. Having to explain why my poem is actually a clever interpretation of the accepted poetic conventions is just a drag.

But here goes anyway.
One of the variations of the 17 syllable Haiku form draws metaphor for the human condition from the natural world – kinda microcosm/macrocosm stuff – particularly in relation to seasonal transitions. Frequently the final seven syllable line summarises the pith of the poem and casts the micro/macro into sharp relief. The line “Breeds seasonal confusion” summarises the absence of awareness of seasonal change to the narrator who is “lying on the sofa, too sickly to move”. In this context, not knowing the time of year is indeed “A Sad Excuse for a Haiku”.

It’s really pretty neat and quite clever.

And, this is why I’d never call myself a poet, I mean – it’s pretty sad excuse full stop if it needs a degree in literature to understand it.