Bonsai & Haiku by Dave Burke, Plymouth, Indiana
Here is an example of a haiku about bonsai. It expresses what I saw and felt one autumn afternoon and helps me remember the experience.
Leaves yellow and red
float downward toward the earth
rest in my bonsai
Haiku is a Japanese poetry form traditionally adhering to strict rules requiring 17 syllables arranged in 3
lines having 5, 7, and 5 sounds respectively. Many haiku, however, do not quite follow these rules, form being less important than content and language, with the result that the syllable count might differ somewhat from 5, 7, and 5. Content is focused on a single, simple idea, often relating to some aspect of nature that has moved the poet. Language is sparse, simple, and direct, free of metaphors and similes,
with few adjectives, incomplete sentences, and no rhyme.
One of the challenges of bonsai for many of us is working out design strategy. Faced with the irreversibility of pruning cuts, we struggle with indecision.
Pruning my bonsai
which to keep, which to lop ...
(sigh) can't decide
Before wiring a branch, we often move it about a bit to find the best position.
Positioning the branch
bending it here ... now there
Oops! ... Accidental pruning