Friday, August 21, 2009

Zombie haiku

So I found out from Angela at the wonderful Bookshelf Muse blog that my entry for her zombie haiku contest was a runner-up.

I'm pleased because it's the first haiku I ever wrote, although I've read several. I've liked haiku ever since I read the poetry in Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and my favorites are from Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa.

That gorgeous kite
from the beggar's shack.
Passage through August, Kobayashi Issa

What I enjoy most about haiku is that they're so compressed. Taut. Stark and streamlined. There's no space for rambling or for too many thoughts. A haiku conveys an image and a tone, and does so in a restrained framework of syllables.

So I decided to use the horror factor of zombie-ism, but to make that subtle, maybe even poignant. I've always liked the ending of Stephen King's Pet Sematary.

A hand fell on his shoulder. Rachel's voice was grating, full of dirt.
"Darling," it said.

Other than the number of syllables, that's pretty haiku-like too, now that I come to think about it. With that in mind, I wrote this entry.

Digs a shallow grave,
All that's buried must arise.
In cold hands, house keys.

The winner was a hilarious entry by Mary Witzl, but all the haikus were fun to read. And, I hope, to write.


Angela Ackerman said...

Everyone was very creative. I'll have to do it again in a year, maybe with a different form of poetry--a limerick, maybe? Muahahaa!

Marian Perera said...

There once was a blogger and writer,
What would it take to excite her?
A contest of verse?
Zombies in a hearse?
Or maybe just vampires to bite her?

Cami Checketts said...

Congratulations on the running-up. I've never tried haiku, but my 10yo loves to write them. I'm just proud he's writing!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Marian!

Yours is really good.

Hazardgal said...

Love both your haiku and limerick. Will try to write some creepy poetry.

Mary Witzl said...

Thank you for giving me a plug here! I read through all the other entries and I'm amazed and thrilled that mine won; I especially liked your idea of house keys in cold hands. My blonde haiku was just for fun, no clean, tautly expressed images or terse descriptions to take the reader's breath away. (But I still mean to claim my prize, because I'm selfish like that.)

Marian Perera said...

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the compliment! I read your blog and just realized that you spent a lot of time in Japan. No wonder you took the haiku prize! :)

And the image of sad zombies shuffling through a sorority house (because that was what "house of blondes" conjured up for me) was a great one, memorable and funny.

Marian Perera said...

Thanks, Tasha and Marge! Creepy poetry is fun, though most of the ones I've come across seem to be written for kids rather than adults. Unless they're classics like "The Raven".

Cami : your ten-year-old writes haiku? I'm impressed. Obviously he takes after mom in creativity. :)