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Japan Book Club: The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Part 3

September 19, 2011

Poetry about kitchen appliances frolicking in a field rocks!

This week we’ll go ahead and finish The Narrow Road to the Deep North .    Just like last week, we’re going to take a closer look at the poetry in Basho’s work.  Only this time instead of focusing on Basho’s haiku, we’re going to write one of our own.

You can use the dozens of Basho poems in the text to help you (there’s about a hundred of them at the end of the document we sent you), but remember – most haiku follow a few simple rules:

  1. They’re usually about nature.
  2. They have three lines.
  3. The lines are 5, 7, and 5 syllables long.

(Yes, for those of you that are a little more knowledgeable about Japanese culture and literature, haiku aren’t quite as simple as these three rules, but for our purposes – which is to just try it out – these rules will do.)

This week your assignment is to take a walk alone around the neighborhood.  Concentrate hard on the little things that you may not have ever noticed before – a tree, a rock, a pond, a flower, even a puddle… Take a camera with you (your camera phone will do just fine) and snap a picture of something that inspires you.

Either right there in… well, where ever it is you’re standing – a neighbor’s yard, a park, a puddle… OR when you get back home… take a few moments to reflect upon what you saw (and how it made you feel, or what made you stop and take a picture of it).  Now do your best to compose a haiku about your picture.

Email the picture to us at MinookaTAP2@gmail.com along with your poem.  Then post your poem in the comments section of this page.  As we receive them, we’ll post the pictures on the main page.

Every student in our Japan group is required to participate.  You must come back and comment on what other people have written (be nice).

Next week, we’ll start the next book – The Old Man Mad About Drawing by Francois Place.  We’ve been telling you about this one for several months now, so everyone should have a copy.  If you don’t get it from the library or a bookstore now.   After that, we’ll be reading Bushido: The Soul of Japan a story about the samurai by Inazo Nitobe – you can look for a copy if you want, but I will be sending everyone a free ebook copy of Bushido when we get to it. 

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58 Comments leave one →
  1. Persephone Allee permalink
    September 23, 2011 1:43 pm

    Tree in solitude
    Shunned from cruel society
    A loner for life

    • Ebony Alvarado permalink
      September 25, 2011 12:35 pm

      wowww Persephone your haiiku is amazing i really liked how you put big words in their, it must have been hard to write this haiiku xD

      • Persephone Allee permalink
        September 26, 2011 6:26 am

        Actually, it wasn’t to bad. The first line I was already thinking of when I saw this tree and then it sort of blossomed from there. I came up with words that I thought would describe it and used that for it.

        • tyler webber permalink
          October 17, 2011 8:48 pm

          I think this haiku was really good! You’re an amazing writer, this really out a picture in my head.

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      September 25, 2011 2:57 pm

      I think your poem describes what a lot of kids feel now a days. It reminds me of how kids are shunned because of how different they are and how your poem not only connects with nature but with society itself. 

  2. Ben Trouvais permalink
    September 24, 2011 10:01 am

    Oh fish that once was
    You loved your life in silence
    Yet you became lunch

    • September 25, 2011 7:33 pm

      haha lol Ben, fishy tasted yummy >:3

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      September 25, 2011 9:27 pm

      This one made me laugh, even though i hate fish. Poor fish!!

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      September 26, 2011 6:18 am

      That is really well written but I can’t help but be bothered that it was eaten. The middle line seems the most poetic to me because fish don’t really do much and you just put them in a new light.

    • Meghan Moreno permalink
      October 10, 2011 6:25 pm

      HAHA! Ben, this one made me laugh! xD It is also really nice by the way. I would have made that fish into sushi. Yum.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      October 12, 2011 4:56 pm

      That poor fish… How did it taste?

    • January 4, 2012 5:43 pm

      And now, Alex is hungry. I like how you were able to sum up a whole life of a fish, very cleaver.

  3. Jessica Sherwin permalink
    September 24, 2011 2:20 pm

    Oh large tree reaching
    For the sky high above your leaves
    Only to reach clouds

    • Ebony Alvarado permalink
      September 25, 2011 12:33 pm

      i really like your haiiku it makes sense and i can understand it very well. 🙂

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      September 25, 2011 3:57 pm

      I really liked this haiku I like how you can describe a tree in many different ways with out being wrong. A tree was almost going to be my inspiration as well.

    • Sydney Bebar permalink
      September 26, 2011 5:52 pm

      I like that your haiku at first glance was simple sounding. Though once you reread it, it becomes very complex.

    • Meghan Moreno permalink
      October 10, 2011 6:28 pm

      This haiku was really good! This can be compared to many other things in life. I love it.

    • Alyssa Gue permalink
      February 23, 2012 2:51 pm

      I like that fact that your haiku was good, and still simple and easy to understand 🙂 good job!

  4. Zach Ciko permalink
    September 25, 2011 11:34 am

    Grass stirining softly

    Animals singing loudly

    Trees being silent

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      September 26, 2011 6:23 am

      The personification in your haiku is great. Once again, I love how this poem put things in a new light. Not only is grass soft, but it is stirring. That sort of thing is what I feel makes poetry great.

  5. Ebony Alvarado permalink
    September 25, 2011 12:30 pm

    as the tree awaits
    it starts to blossom an apple
    waiting to be picked

  6. Blair Tuider permalink
    September 25, 2011 4:14 pm

    A weeping flower
    In the fall, waits for winter
    Surrenders to death

    • Sydney Bebar permalink
      September 26, 2011 5:53 pm

      That’s amazing blair. It was very moving, also it relates to humans to surrendering to a small enemy or a quite large one that does not live.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      September 26, 2011 6:51 pm

      I love how this poem makes me feel bad for the flower. It makes me feel like a person is dying, and I’m hoping it survives.

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      October 4, 2011 7:27 pm

      i also liked how you made me (the reader) feel differently about a flower because most of the time you would think of a flower as being perky or happy

    • cj moody permalink
      November 1, 2011 4:48 pm

      it almost shows how some people feared the ocean in the big wave! great job.

  7. Yazmine Thomas permalink
    September 25, 2011 5:05 pm

    I hear birds singing
    I see nothing but land and trees
    I love going camping

    • Alyssa Gue permalink
      February 23, 2012 2:52 pm

      i like that you took a personal experience for yours! i havent been camping in years 😛

  8. Bobby cortesi permalink
    September 25, 2011 5:22 pm

    old and wooden chair
    lies silently and harmless
    in search of people

    • Yazmine Thomas permalink
      September 25, 2011 6:54 pm

      Wow !!! your poem gave me a clear picture . I love how you used personification…. very unique . One of my favorite haikus yet !

    • September 25, 2011 7:33 pm

      poor chair, sounds like he needs a friend D:

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      September 25, 2011 9:30 pm

      I would sit in that chair so he could have a friend

    • January 4, 2012 5:40 pm

      I love your haiku. It gives you a clear image of the chair and what the dreams of.

    • Nate Zurawski permalink
      February 19, 2012 12:06 pm

      That haiku was excellent I could imagine where there chair was and how it was just all alone.

  9. Lyssette Bedolla permalink
    September 25, 2011 5:35 pm

    Cattails by the pond

    Goes with the flow of the wind

    Without a purpose

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      October 4, 2011 7:25 pm

      i like that you noticed the cattails out of everything in a lake when u could have done the tall grass or the fish or even the water

    • cj moody permalink
      November 1, 2011 4:47 pm

      its so nice how you can pick the most simplest thing ever and make a haiku so great out of it.

  10. September 25, 2011 7:43 pm

    Little grasshopper,
    You see the world different,
    How large it all seems

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      September 26, 2011 6:53 pm

      The grasshopper feels and sees all the world in a different way, and this makes me imagine what it would be like to be such a small creature on this huge planet.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      October 12, 2011 4:57 pm

      I like how you wrote it thinking of how the grasshopper would think.

  11. Hannah Schram permalink
    September 25, 2011 7:51 pm

    Oh dead, lonely weed
    Laying breathless with no life
    Waiting to its death

  12. Shane Chetney permalink
    September 25, 2011 9:24 pm

    The world sees the bee
    sitting on pretty flowers
    drinking sweet pollen

  13. September 26, 2011 5:00 pm

    As the sun rises
    through the ever so green trees
    It’s just breathtaking

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      September 27, 2011 5:43 pm

      I love your description, it gives me chills of how amazing it is.

  14. September 26, 2011 5:03 pm

    I think everyone’s Haiku is awesome especially Persephone’s and Hannah’s. They use great personification and details. They are all well written and thought out. I was so inspired by all the poems. Great job everyone 🙂

  15. Sydney Bebar permalink
    September 26, 2011 6:01 pm

    A gleaming acorn
    Joined only by a droplet
    Soon to be forgot

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      September 27, 2011 5:46 pm

      This haiku made me sit down and think. It was wonderful in only twelve words and seemed to have a more “mysterious” feeling to it than a few others I have read over.

  16. Mark Burjek permalink
    September 26, 2011 6:47 pm

    As I walk this path
    The two lakes taunt me throughout
    How I wan’t to fish

  17. Yazmine Thomas permalink
    September 29, 2011 3:44 pm

    i think i did my first poem wrong . So here is my new one :

    I hear birds singing
    I see nothing but land and trees
    oh sweet mother natuer

  18. Meghan Moreno permalink
    October 10, 2011 6:44 pm

    Night sky is haunting
    Almost scaring me away
    Morning brings me peace

  19. Kevin Wilson permalink
    October 11, 2011 5:58 pm

    that is an awsome haiku Meghan. it kind of give off a creepy feeling

  20. Kevin Wilson permalink
    October 11, 2011 6:01 pm

    The tree withers and dies
    Beatiful and colorful
    The leafs are changing

    • tyler webber permalink
      October 17, 2011 8:52 pm

      I like this poem, it makes me think of fall. Which is one of my favorite seasons.

  21. tyler webber permalink
    October 17, 2011 8:51 pm

    Floating through the sky
    While holding my head high
    Kiss my tree goodbye

  22. cj moody permalink
    November 1, 2011 4:50 pm

    once beautiful
    grass has now a nasty weed
    just wanting to spread

    • Nate Zurawski permalink
      February 19, 2012 12:10 pm

      This haiku is amazing, I especially like the last line talking about the weed wanting to spread.

  23. Tyler Pearson permalink
    November 11, 2011 6:43 pm

    narrow stream frozen
    fish stuck going down the stream
    pine needles stick on

  24. January 4, 2012 5:32 pm

    Beating wind rusles through
    But not strong enough to break
    The pampus grass’ stalk

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