By  Narayanan Raghunathan

General Haiku Traditional Types ~


The "Empty Subtle Type Haiku" the simplest is almost decoration free of poetic devices Haiku is a simple observation elevated to a tentative vision in this case ~ It states apparently even without any special beauty yet attempts to be deeply suggestive ~ But perhaps these are the empty subtle ones ~ The village belle is unadorned and truly epistemology free even aesthetic free ~

a water-snake
wriggles into a sun
in the well ~

still pond ~
a dragonfly spreads
a circle on water ~

the ocean, the sun
vanishes ~

mossy rocks
radiant abloom on
a cloudy sky ~

moonlight walk ~
sound of my footsteps
chase my feet ~

a sun in
a little pond on
a lotus leaf ~



In this Category of "Beautiful Subtle Type Haiku", gentle poetic devices come into play in subtle ways by way of interior decoration and beautifying and still intrinsically point to the magic wonder of the embedding moment ~ The well dressed damsel knows how to adorn in style knows about feminine grace and she is even beautifully intellectual sometimes ~

Rhythm of Fire ~
articulate horizon brews
the first drizzle ~

inverted mountain
dazzles on dawn-waters ~
breeze hum erases ~

the sacred drizzle ~
the birds have abandoned
the smell of earth ~

a paradise on
every flower in
a butterfly's eye ~

verdant breeze envelope
spasms ~ solitary autumn
leaf gently falls ~

twilight village ~
temple bell blazes ~ sparrows
tingle silences in mist ~



In this "Labyrinth Subtle Type Haiku" The Poetic Voice the decorative devices and the sophistication become more pronounced if I may say so ~ But because of this, more images come in and there is a regal distancing of the moment to which the Haiku essentially refers to ~ The Gorgeous Empress Naturally Draws lot of attention and the adornments and fragrances are intrinsic to her ~

incense moonlight
blooms tender lotus-silences ~
starry-sky incants air ~

funeral ceremony ~
red-ants carry grasshopper ~
distant bhajan in air ~

Note ~ Bhajan ~ A Religious song praising or invoking God in His Infinite Manifestation showing the devotees Bhakthi [Divine Devotion]~ Generally sung in a group in temples and houses often with percussion accompaniment ~ There are innumerable Bhajans sung in India in the various languages on the Divine Nature of God ~ Root ~ Bhaj ~ to invoke, to pray, to meditate ~~~~ ana ~ to elucidate, to expand, to clarify, ~ [Sanskrit] ~

twilight solemnity ~
solitary butterfly incants glory ~
destination Eternity ~

astral clusters bloom
on garden wall ~ jasmines
chant sunlit incenses ~

I am a butterfly
I not only flip flutter and fly
I also laugh and cry ~



" The best haiku are barefoot; next, the sandaled; and least, those with shoes."

Robert Spiess

A very insightful comment by the great modern Haijin Spiess ~ But I personally feel that there could be beautiful bare foot Haiku, beautiful sandaled Haiku, and beautiful Haiku with shoes too ~ I also personally notice that I write less with shoes as days pass by and more turn barefoot inevitably perhaps ~ My three classifications tentatively represent the three types mentioned by Robert Spiess if I may say so~ Further the three classes are not mutually exclusive literally ~ they could intersect overlap depending upon the observer's personal predilections and sensitivities ~




Here, in "The Narrative Hinted Type" a tale, a narrative enhances the moment of Haiku reference ~ Even in traditional Japanese Haiku too rarely this narrative type can be observed ~ These are generally Senryu ~


as he inebriates himself
into dead oblivion elsewhere,
she waits in love here ~


Shankaran lost his little son ~
but he still smiles as always
bravely, brooding sadly ~


The intellectual type of Haiku is less practised and is traditionally speaking against the spirit of Haiku ~ But then what is the correct Haiku? ~ Here are few of my attempts at intellect oriented Haiku ~

empires founded
defounded ~ emperors loom
in waterloo mansions ~

pre-historic pottery site ~
archaeologists discuss hieroglyphs
ancient butterfly articulates ~

fat red dictionary
dreams random surreal
epics in empty being ~



The Name indicates the Type ~ There could be three types here ~ "science related", "science fiction" and "scientific" ~ "science related" is related to science in an everyday commonsensical way ~ "science fiction" is impossible and abstract surreal science type of Haiku ~ "scientific" is related to existing sciences in a somewhat specialist's way by way of terminology, abstraction and stance ~! The last one often may involve writing elaborate notes on terminology for the uninitiated reader~


circuit malfunction
crazed robot destroys
random nations ~


an astronaut rockets
into infinite space-times
never returns ~


"funny human beings
think we are equations"
the ants laugh ~



a geodesic singularity
in the eternal continuum
a dragonfly ~

Note ~ This one insinuates [if one were to really search in it for the intrinsic resonances] to Archimedes, Zeno, Euclid, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Michelson Morley Experiment, Lorentz Transformations, The Special Theory Of Relativity, The General Theory Of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Shrodinger's Cat Paradox, EPR Paradox, Bells Theorem, Aspect's Experiment, Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, High Energy Physics, Astrophysics Etc

Geodesic ~ The Path Of A Particle Or Being [!] in Space Time Continuum in the General Theory Of Relativity ~ The Equation Of The Geodesic Is The Fundamental Equation Of The General Theory Of Relativity ~

Singularity ~ The Regions Of Space-Times Both In The Subatomic level [Microcosm] and The Astrophysical [[Macrocosm] where all human laws [descriptive models] are simply nullified ~ or appear to be so to eternal human understanding ~

Continuum ~ Space And Time Unify Inseparably As The Space-Time-Continuum ~


cyberspace unifies
ancient friends reunite
without even a face ~


binary logic
blooms magic songs in
labyrinth cosmoses ~

Note ~

Binary Logic is the foundation of all computer science as all must be aware ~ A Finite family of complexly arrayed and interconnected switches each with an on/off [1/0] possibility is the essential imagery of a computer ~ When we do any action on a computer all but one unique family of actions [on switches] are inactive [off switches] ~ Computer is involved in a series of binary [from two (on/offor1/0)] logical operations ~ So the computer scientists use a binary system of arithmetic with two as a base than the common decimal system with 10 as the base ~


stretch genetic codes
seek pure infinitesimals
see Maha Shoonya ~

Note ~

Maha Shoonya ~ The Great Cosmic Void That Underlies and Unifies All ~ Buddhist Eschatology ~ Maha [Great] Shoonya [Void] [Sanskrit]


butterfly flutters here
resonant cosmoses blossom
the Apocalyptic Dawn ~

Note ~

The Chaos Theory arises as a consequence of Probability Theory and reasserts the ancient Mystic's axiom of Non-localized Interactions ~ The Bell's theorem also affirms the non-localized nature of interactions ~ This situation has put many serious scientists working in the foundations of Physics into a quandary ~Consciousness actively plays a part in the interactions of the universes and we cannot separate the universe from man and his perception and interpretation thereof ~ "Every action has infinite reactions and the maximum reaction takes place at infinite separations ~ " to put the situation with a lot of exaggerated humour ~

I may be pardoned for this indulgences and even call them all Haiku ~ I read about a yahoo SF Haiku site which I never managed to visit ~ These are my attempts at SF and Scientific Haiku ~ Hybrid Experimentation ~ Traditional Haijin kindly forgive this luni audacity ~



Surreal ~ the name indicates clearly the type of The Haiku ~ I have very rarely seen surreal ones because traditional canons surely forbid it if I may say so ~ But all of us who have seen our Chaggal or Dali maybe tempted to be surreal sometimes and exotic ~ Here are my attempts ~

floating angels bestow
wings to watermelons
stones sing chorus ~


soft fleshy watches
chant incense time in
green dream spaces ~

[To Salvador Dali ~ Ref: Dali's Famous Painting "Soft Watches" ~]


an erect human with
a dinosaur face lays
radium green eggs ~


in twilight air
with a crown of water
an invisible ghost ~



This is surely a sub-genre I created with overt religious, mystical and Apocalyptic Resonances ~ It was surely not a planned venture ~ A primordial personal religious necessity made me write these type of Visionary Haiku ~ These are far away from traditional and even modern Haiku if I may so ~ But are they Haiku? ~ I leave the absurd unanswerable question open ~

Here is one with intrinsic reference to Christ Christianity and The Apocalypse ~

The Veil Of Jerusalem
ripped asunder, fierce as fire
the gentle Jesus emerged ~

Here Is One With Reference To The Cosmology of Physicists and The Mysticism Of All Religions ~

The Big Bang ~
Nobody Heard The Bang ~
Primal Unborn Silences ~

Note ~

"The Big Bang", thanks to popular science publications has become a matter of faith among many ~ Let me clarify ~ It is a silly human fantasy about The Great Creation ~ I am ready to argue on this point with the learned scientists ~

Here Is An Upanishadic One ~

the child asleep
the god asleep, alone in
absolute peace ~

Note ~

The One Who Is Eternally Awake In Us Even When We Are Deep Asleep He Is The Very Lord Of All The Universes ~ "Maandukyopanishad" ~ A Simple Summary ~

The Following Brings in Zen And Apocalypse together again ~

fiery dragon howls winds
solitary hand claps terror thunder
Amitaabha's sweet silence. ~

Note ~

The Word Amitaabha is inevitable here. The meaning of this word is "A Library Of Babel" if I may dare to say so. Amitaabha ~ INFINITE ETERNAL OMNIPRESENT OMNIPOTENT OMNISCIENT GENTLEST MOST SUBTLE ABSOLUTELY STILL PURE PERFECT SILENT GREATEST TRUE BEAUTIFUL VAST DELICATE SELF- MADE ~~~~~~~~~ If one changes Amitaabha to any other Vast Eternal Names like Naaraayana, SadaaShiva, Ishihha. Yahova, Buddha, Maitreya, Christ, Allaha, Rudra, PadmaPaani, Viraat-Purusha, Dattaatreya, Raama, Krishna,Christos, ~~~~~~~~, it is less satisfying to me as I wade through the Vast etymological oceans of these Divine Words! I hope that this inevitability

is noticed. The Silence is an Apocalyptic Silence. "In the Beginning The Word was with God and The Word was God " Finally too The Word is God When we will All Re-cognize All Word and The Deeper Mystery Of The Great Silence(s)." ~ [Anonymous]

I close with an unconventional one hinting at The Great Shoonya and the Apocalypse too ~

thunderous voyages blast
through lightning fire-silences
in the Great Void ~

These Are Still Haiku or so I surmise because of the Vast reference to A Moment and other reasons aesthetic and rhythmic ~ Amanda and Shyam also write Haiku insinuating the Apocalypse joining me in this mad venture!



I had never read a Haiku which may be termed as "Love Haiku" although later i read a few. Due to some strange inspiration and necessity I started writing "Love Haiku" addressed to my abstract love Azra Uma etc. ~ Amanda responded later on ~ Then it became a necessary medium of personal communication for both of us ~ We continue this practice still and hope to do so in future too ~

This may probably be termed as new sub-genre we are nurturing in love!! ~Here we personally call each other metaphysical names with poetic intention and delight! ~ This is blasphemy and ignorance according to many traditionalists ~ [Note ~ Issa has used Basho's name in some Haiku and there are surely other instances too ~]

butterflies hum light
all over you Amba think
you are a lotus ~


Amba ~ The Primal One In The Primal Waters ~

fluttering Sthanu
incants trembling petals~
perfumes shimmer ~


Sthanu ~ Eternally Unmovable In Essence ~ Ever Unchanging ~ A Name of Shiva ~

moonlit Kailash
throbs in Rudra-Uma
ether dances ~


Rudra-Uma on Kailash
clouds thunder diamonds
liquid fires explode ~


empty room, all light
solitary chair ruminates our
sacred parables of yonder Azra ~


Azra ~ Eternal Divine Light

ah! what mystery Ahadi ~
this pure nostalgia in
stories yet to be!


Ahadi ~ The Knower Of The Infinite Word In Its Vastness


I have seen very few erotic Haiku ~ One could slip into pornography ~ Perhaps the following pair of Haiku by Amanda and Narayanan could perhaps be tentatively called "Erotic Haiku" ~

wanton blooms
whisper sweetest nectar ~
greedy butterfly!

[Amanda ~]

sublime butterfly
settles on wanton bloom
mines nectar ecstasy ~

[Narayanan ~]



Art[ Painting Sculpture etc.] or artist related Haiku may be tetatively called Art Haiku. The following examples perhaps illustrate.


1]Vincent Van Gogh  


[Dedicated to tim]  


twilight ~
sunflowers tilt gently
on the horizon 


stars fall,
one by one, into
the sunflowers


whirling lines ~ 
cedars in winds
sway the sky


self portrait  ~
with or without one ear
i closely check 



empty room ~
the invisible artist
empty bed


golden yellow ~
summer fields emit
sunlight in breeze


empty beach ~
beautiful boats
rest in sunlight


so many
self portraits,
not a smile




posthumous fame ~ 
wilting sunflowers on
coffee-table books


same pair of boots ~
so many angles flow
so many lights 



winter air ~
the distant sky is 
nearly empty


red beard ~
facial lines rooted
in deep agony


blue landscape ~
midnight winds swirl
the starry sky



vincent's eyes ~
churchbells chime in
sunny landscapes


alone Vincent, 
colours the winds
etches the pains 


a mad life,
mad with colours
mad with lines


Vincent's grave  ~
Theo and little Vincent
place a sunflower each





2] Claude Monet



lily pond ~
new sunlight conjures 
new landscapes



so many new lilies
the sun brightens
a pink butterfly



clouds align ~
haystack soaked in
various sunlights



dabble of pink
on white ~ the lily looked
like that yesterday



3] Henry Moore


nude in repose ~
space defined anew
in vast abstractions




This Classification is tentative! We could have "War Haiku", "Cinema Haiku", Literary Haiku etc. too.  




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