As my writing has evolved I have developed an interest in many different styles of writing, different fiction genres and culturally diverse written expressions. I love the short, almost terse style of many modern authors, but equally enjoy the long flowing prose of classical works from by-gone eras. For a while I read voraciously through the American writers of the mid-twentieth century and, for me at least, chief among them was Jack Kerouac.

On the Road inspired my youthful self to let go of my material attachments and allow myself to follow the stars, looking for the middle way where the experiences that I was meant to have in life would naturally come my way. Later, still mystically inclined, I read Dharma Bums and was inspired by the Haiku in it. I still remember one by heart:

the sparrow
hops along the verandah,
with wet feet.

This led me on to read more and to learn more about these often sagacious Japanese poems. Of course any study of Haiku must almost begin with Basho:

like clouds drifting apart
a wild goose separates, for now
from his friend

on a withered branch
a crow has settled-
autumn evening

Masaoka Shiki, the first of the truly modern Haiku Masters said of that a Haiku is a poem of seasons, the present season, and must be a complete statement. Haiku poetry concerns the pure present and comes from the poet writing from within the solitude of a moment of encountering nature. Haiku has evolved since Shiki’s time, it has spread across the world and lost some of its strict meter and form but it has gained a wider potential for expression. Jack Kerouac said of Haiku:
“The American Haiku is not exactly the Japanese Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined to seventeen syllables but since the language structure is different I don’t think American Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry about syllables because American speech is something again…bursting to pop. Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.”

Snap your finger
stop the world-
rain falls harder.
-Jack Kerouac

Winter Haiku

I didn’t know
the names of the flowers- now
my garden is gone
– Allen Ginsberg, Berkeley 1955

A kite floats
at the place in the sky
where it floated yesterday
– Yosa Buson

Lotus leaves in the pond
ride on water
rain in June
– Masaoka Shiki

When a thing is placed
a shadow of autumn
appears there
– Takahama Kyoshi

And, if I may be so bold, one of my own Haiku (for your criticism):

First quarter moon;
through the late dusk clouds
cool summer evening.


About dgmattichakjr

D G Mattichak jr was born in 1963 in Syracuse New York and immigrated to Melbourne Australia with his family in 1972. He was educated in one of Melbourne’s exclusive private schools before studying art at Preston Technical College. D G Mattichak jr has been a student of the occult arts since the early 1980s and has become well known in Australian magickal circles and, in recent years, around the world due to a string of essays on a variety of occult subjects http://www.scribd.com/dmattichak/shelf . He discovered the “key to the order & value of the English alphabet” from Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law in 1983 and has since used this English Qabalah to unlock the secrets of Thelemite magick. Success in these methods admitted him to the highest levels of attainment in various Hermetic disciplines and until recently he has been passing on his knowledge to private students, many of whom have gone on to become notable occultists in their own right. After almost three decades of study and development D G Mattichak jr has finally been able to distil his knowledge of magick and Thelema into a book- A Comment on the Verses of the Book of the Law, the first in a planned series of books on Hermeticism and Thelemite magick, revealing, for the first time in over a century, the secrets of magick that have been hidden in Crowley’s magnum opus, the Book of the Law. D G Mattichak jr currently lives in Melbourne Australia with his artist wife Michelle and their two cats. He has had a long career as an al a carte chef in Melbourne’s vibrant hospitality scene and now spends his time writing blogs on cooking, writing and, in the guise of Master Ankh af na Khonsu, about magick. He is also one of the founding members of the Mt Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering and regularly contributes to its official website http://mountfranklinannualpagangathering.blogspot.com/ as both an administrator and as an author. D G Mattichak jr’s first book Loot was released in 2009. His books are available through amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=D G Mattichak&x=13&y=20 .
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One Response to Haiku

  1. thanks- it’s great that someone likes my Haiku.

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