Valentine’s Day

A belated happy Valentine’s Day!


Above is a haiku I wrote some time ago.

For those who don’t know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that must have 17 syllables, arranged in three lines with a 5-7-5 pattern. Typically, haiku are about seasons and natural phenomenon; technically, the poem above is a senryu, which has more humanized, urbane and often more modern subject matter. Actually, it would be more accurate to call this a haiga (poem accompanied by art). I’ll feature more on here from time to time.

I’m not sure how well the format carries over to English; some purists would probably say that a true haiku should be written in Japanese. A lot of Western writers don’t bother with the 5-7-5 structure, and just write in free-verse, renaming it a ‘micro-poem’. I figure if you’re going to call it a haiku, you might as well stick to convention; otherwise you’re just stringing together random poetic phrases willy-nilly and calling it a sonnet.

I write a lot of haiku. My Twitter account is full of them (my username is even @waijing_haiku). I used to average about two verses a day, but I’m more discerning now; I tend to write in fits and starts, posting six in one day, then none for a week. They fit well with the 145-character format of Twitter, and it’s a great way to create a snapshot of incidental moments or fleeting ideas. As a kind of maximalist writer and artist, who is always adding extra adjectives or painstakingly rendering superfluous details, it’s nice to actually succeed at a format which is renowned for its brevity.

Speaking of lacks of things, no roses for me this Valentine’s Day. But I’ve shared some waterlilies instead (taken from my graphic novel, Tsuruhane, and rearranged as a heart. Also, in case you think I’ve given up my blog-naming habits, I recommend watching this clip of David Bowie’s song of the same name. Heart-wrenching stuff.

In case this post is getting too cynical, here’s some bonus fluffy stuff (literally):


As usual, the above images are available at my Etsy store as a set of cards; as is the haiku above. Too late for this year’s Valentine’s Day – perhaps keep it in mind for next time ;)