On What Is Haiku

by Sydell Rosenberg

Now I go to what is there, and each time, get something different. Sometimes I get what I want—and other times, perhaps more rewarding, I get what I didn’t know I didn’t want, with pain. Each time, discovery.

Haiku is that fledgling moment—when the wing strokes become sure—when the bird has staying power in the air.

Haiku can’t be gimmicked; it can’t be shammed. If it is slicked into cuteness, haiku loses what it had to give.

The split second one starts to touch a flower—real or plastic?—that’s haiku! Before the hoof comes down, that’s haiku!

First published in Wind Chimes #3, 1981 (shown below). Also published in H Is for Haiku, from Penny Candy Books, 2018 (shown in yellow); also available on Amazon. Thank you to Amy Losak.