Counting toads

RibbitHere I go again
kawazu tobikomu
its just a haiku

There, that’s better. I went to wikipedia to remind myself about how haikus work. 5/7/5 on, not syllables, but on. Somehow in English we translate on to syllables.

Wikipedia says:

Although it is possible to dissect the difference between counting on and counting syllables in great detail, in actual practice, for some classical Japanese haiku the count of on is very often identical to the count of syllables. However, because most Japanese words are polysyllabic, with very short sounds (like the three-syllable English word “radio”, but unlike the one-syllable words “thought” or “stressed”), the seventeen sounds of a Japanese haiku carry less information than would seventeen syllables. Consequently, writing seventeen syllables in English typically produces a poem that is significantly “longer” than a traditional Japanese haiku. As a result, the great majority of literary haiku writers in English write their poems using about ten to fourteen syllables, with no formal pattern.

So maybe my intro Haiku should read more like this:

Here I go now
kawazu tobikomu
its just haiku

It’s not strictly 5/7/5 syllables, but the sounds seem to fit better with the intent of the rules from Japan.