Tinkering with modern haiku

with thanks to Mo Daley for the Open Write invitation on Ethical ELA today: “Forget counting syllables for this writing exercise! The modern haiku does not trouble itself with syllable and line counts. Rather, write a short (usually 1-4 lines), unrhymed poem that juxtaposes two images to capture an insight about the world or oneself.”

This seems so simple…

The first things that comes to mind is the the gutter work we had done here yesterdaywhat to make of this?

Leaking gutters
purged of sludge, with new downspouts
stormwater conduits now capable
of saving my foundation.

A bit of satisfying metaphor, but not exactly juxtaposition.

Something of a challenge, this. I don’t know why I am clinging to the image of a gutter, other than it’s now stuck in my head. It’s one of those simple, unremarkable things (unless, of course, it has a gargoyle waterspout) with vital importance. Maybe a good metaphor for writer’s block.

Hmm. I will try again:

Life-giving rain and sheltering tree are in conspiracy
nonchalantly sneaking, bit by bit, into the gutter
for the ruination of my house
— rather a long-range plan, but still.


I was going to try another haiku with a father telling his sons to “keep their noses clean” when everything really depends on the gutters, or maybe one playing off Oscar Wilde’s quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” but now I am weary of wrestling with modern haiku about gutters.

Guttered out, like a candle.

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