Why do we need all
these cops anyway? ‘We don’t’
That’s the way it is,
being paid to manage bears.
Pleasant place to live.
Police warn cutbacks
pose mortal threat to safety.
Ripple effects flow.
Housing is cheaper,
crime rates low. Turf wars the stuff
of Cochrane legend.
Those Toronto cops
on their handsome horses round
up rustled cattle.
Reference: Why crime is plunging but police costs are soaring
Today’s Oulipost prompt from Found Poetry Review was to create a haiku from our source newspaper.
The haiku is a Japanese poetic form whose most obvious feature is the division of its 17 syllables into lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haikuisation has sometimes been used by Oulipians to indicate the reduction of verses of normal length to lines of haiku-like brevity. Select three sentences from a single newspaper article
and “haiku” them.
I must confess, I hate haiku. Wait, let me explain! It isn’t the form itself I hate. Haiku are tremendously difficult to create, that ‘aha’ zen punch in the face the work is meant to evoke is a very tricky thing and I don’t think I have mastered it in the above pieces by any means. I do think I satisfied the syllable count, which brings me to why I hate haiku.
How many times have you, as a writer, heard the following: “Oh, I could never write a poem. I mean, I could write a haiku but that’s about it.” The haiku is the artist’s equivalent of “I could never draw a person. I mean, I could draw a stick man but that’s about it.” Haiku seems to be the only poetic form anyone remembers being taught in elementary school, and as a parent of a student and as someone who has taught elementary school kids I swear the reason most of us learned the form because it was the shortest possible lesson. Because of its strict, short syllable count, it’s a form that is easy to teach and easy for students to remember. The difficult part of the haiku, that metaphor leap that masters make, is glossed over in the lesson plan. I could live to be a thousand and probably never make that leap that Matsuo Basho spent much of his life exploring.
So I don’t truly hate haiku although it brings back terrible elementary school memories.
There’s a great guest post from Michael J. Rosen at Write All the Words!, (the fantastic blog of E. Kristin Anderson that you should absolutely be following) about haibun, a traditional poetic Japanese form that I had never heard of before now. You should read it!