From Samurai Warrior to Haiku Poetry (Nostalgia #14)

As I swiveled around in my office chair I faced the back wall of my office and stared unseeing at a (manually) typed letter from James Clavell dated June, 1971. Clavell being the author of the classic and world renowned, ‘SHOGUN‘. (for you poor pathetic illiterate readers out there who have never read this classic or heard of James Clavell.)  The letter was a response to my asking him for more information on the word ‘joss’ and how it was used in ancient Japan. He responded with my answer and an invitation for us to sail up through the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island and his home.  WOW! 

‘SHOGUN‘ began my love affair with Samurai Japan and the history of ancient Japan.  The Samurai, a military caste in feudal Japan, began as provincial warriors before rising to power in the 12th century with the beginning of the country’s first military dictatorship, known as the shogunate. They continue to rise to great power, known for their superb fighting skills, their unwavering loyalty, and (oddly)  their poetry.  I became a student of this warrior class for over two decades. Searching out and reading their Haiku and Renku writings. 

I was fascinated by the fact that these fierce, bloodied, bigger-than-life warriors who dedicated their lives to their lord and war could, in turn, write delicate, tender poetry. So delicate you felt as though the paper the poetry was written on would crumble if you held it too tightly. So tender your heart wept at the reading.  

One day; I don’t know which day or what prompted me, I wrote my first Haiku. And as they say, the rest is history.  I have written Haiku for over three decades, published three books of poetry. 

It is a wonderful exercise in brevity and translates over to your other writings. Helping you to cut away the excess, the fluff in your writing. And if you write enough of this poetry, the fluff in your writing will never appear in the first place. 

The Garden

I wander my blooms
the morning sun barely peeks
above the far hills
~~Trisha Sugarek

Samurai Song (Renku)
                                                                                                                                                   
delicate blossom                                                                                                                       
rests in the still gnarled hand                                                                                                                              
bruised petals weep tears                                                       

weary eyes open
tiny cuts, the body bleeds
peace still years away

sun rise breaks the hill
heralds another battle
draw your sword and charge
~~Trisha Sugarek

If you want to try writing some Haiku, click here

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