Four Easy Steps

Put the bottom of the violin under your chin.
Hold the neck of the violin away from you.
Draw the bow back and forth repeatedly
across the strings to make music.

As I remember it, there were several of these silly instruction sets back in the day, but of course I couldn’t find this one. I did find another, attributed to Monty Python.


What triggered this meander down Memory Lane? Actual for-real instructions on how to write a haiku in four easy steps.

Decide what kind of haiku you’d like to write.

You can follow the traditional 5-7-5 structure. Or not. (Some tradition.)

Determine your subject matter.

OK, yes, that sounds like an important step. And how hard can it be? I’m sure you’re tripping over haiku topics daily. Who isn’t? What’s next?

Use short phrases that evoke strong images.

No, not *that* sort of short phrase. These are seasonal code words that help you set a mood with few words. We all know how good people are at using just a few words.

Use a kireji or ‘cutting word’
to create a break in the meter.

Excellent: all that’s needed here is a sense of rhythm to, you know, detect a break in the meter.

And there you have it: Haiku (or strong words) to follow. I wish I’d known years ago how simple this all was.

For other instruments:
The same thing but without the piano.

Never mind: I shouldn’t regret lost opportunities. After all, using the same technique we could have world peace by lunch.

Decide world peace would be good.

Like, why hasn’t this occurred to anyone before? D’oh.

Disarm the nations.

OK, that won’t be tough, but if we want true peace we must achieve it within each community, not just between the nations.

Disarm the people.
Including the sticks.
And the golf clubs.
And the baseball bats.

OK, good, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought of everything. Now to make sure it lasts.

Prevent any more disagreements.
About anything.

No, don’t thank me. It’s the least I can do.

This entry was posted in Laughing Frequently and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Four Easy Steps

  1. Well, now that you have taken the lid off your secret recipe we can each troop home and churn out haikus — before, during, or after lunch! I must say your approach is disarming. But, like the cup and wineglass sitting on my table to remind me of priorities, the proof will be in the testing.

    And, by the by, your last admonition makes the grade as a haiku:
    “Prevent any more
    disagreements about
    anything ever.”

    I guess some people just cannot help themselves. They are poetry in motion.

  2. barbara carlson says:

    My John Benn was on radio years ago and asked if he wrote poetry. He said yes, here is a haiku — and he repeated it. The radio chap said he enjoyed it and asked if he’d written any others.
    John said, “No, when I’ve mastered a form, I move on.”

Comments are closed.