Cat Haiku by Deborah Coates is a cute coffee-table book I received during the holidays. The underlying idea: around 100 haiku about cats in english. The booklet is illustrated by very elegant drawings by Sandra Bruce. The haiku are funny and witty and the book is fun to read, but I had the nagging feelings that they are not really haiku. This made me think, why did I feel this? The versification certainly follows the form, and all of them talking about cat, you could even argue they all have nature as their thema, so what was my issue?
A cat getting your
Tongue is impossible; you
Guys are way too tall
Then it hit me: those poems are witty, which is something to expect of a english-speaking author. Haiku are more about a feeling, a precise sensation, that hits the reader during a short instant, an insightful flash. This is one form where, in my opinion, wits are not a good idea, the witty interaction between cat and human prevents from evoking sensations.
The Ancient Art of Japanese Poetry – Cat-Style
ISBN : 0-09-946328-8
Nosing around a bit on the internet, I found this page that contains a few haiku that are more rough, but try more often to get the sensation flash part right. Still Cat Haiku is a funny read, which made me smile a lot, and deepen my understanding of haiku.
2 thoughts on “Cat Haiku”
My cat stretches tall.
Paw extended, come to me!
Happy you are home!
I also don’t think you can make a Haiku poem by taking two perfectly formed English sentences that happens to be 24 syllables long combined, and fragmenting them to form the 5/7/5 meter. If my memory serves, each line is intended to communicate a single concept, no?