American Haiku: Silent Bathhouse


dawn slips in more silently than a bathhouse on an icy lake

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Be kind, this is my first ever American Haiku, which I find to be much harder than the usual form. It was a form created by Allen Ginsberg, who brought it away from nature toward our modern, urban lifestyle and left it high and dry on one line, as more similar to the original haiku form, which was not broken into lines. It was inspired by the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Special #9, although I hesitate to link up given my newbie-ness. (Newbie-verbosity?) Joke cracking in a nervous way is never pretty.

47 thoughts on “American Haiku: Silent Bathhouse

  1. Pingback: Still Life with Lichen | Friendly Fairy Tales
  2. Pingback: Trumpets Sounding: American Haiku | Friendly Fairy Tales
  3. Good for you! I like haiku of any sort. And I also like the few Ginsberg poems I know. I translated one into Esperanto years ago as an exercise and sent it to him. His assistant sent me a postcard with his thanks and said Allen hopes the poem sounds good in Esperanto.


  4. You did great Brenda … it’s very much an American Sentence and it’s a beauty. American Sentence is a nice way to look in a different way at haiku. One of the classic rules of haiku is also that it must read as one-line. Haiku was written vertically by the way in one-line. So this American sentence and the haiku are very much in tune with each other.


    • I’ve always written haiku in three parts, ideally, with two unrelated images brought together by a third, but I was not able to figure out how to do that in the American Sentence, so I approached it in a new way. Then I got caught on the rule about no “like or as.” I wasn’t sure if that meant no comparisons. Eventually, I got tired of spinning my wheels and left it in its state. I’m glad you like it. For the number of words involved, a surprising number of ideas and words were tried and rejected. I’m enjoying these specials, but I don’t know how to find them, and when I try to get email subscription to your Special site, it tells me that is not available. Do I have to have a blogspot site to be able to get notifications of your new prompt?


  5. I had not heard of The American Haiku before. You have educated me , you’ve also tweaked my interest. I shall have to try for myself. As to linking back Newbiness is no reason not to. Especially when this offering is excellent. 😉


  6. I really love this. I just read it through again and again (20 times maybe? But very slowly) Each time it was like a deeper wave of meaning flowing over me. Your words are beautiful, I think they’ll haunt me all day…


  7. I like it! I’ve been reading/writing poems that use the word dawn lately, it’s a beautiful word and has a lot of beautiful symbolism that comes with it. Do American Haiku have to be 17 syllables?

    I didn’t know they were called American Haiku’s though, I’ve written them before. I wrote a 10 set one awhile back, though I guess the point is to make them a single haiku. Here’s mine, with each line 17 syllables in length, grouped in pairs.

    “Murmurations of Starlings’ Soul”
    by Ry Hakari

    Soul’s facets shattered, but starling fragments gathered make a mosaic!
    I rise resilient — Why fight or flight? Why not both? Be broken, yet whole?

    These contradictions come from surpassing limits of pain tolerance
    My soul’s immortal — It molts, but new feathers grow — just like everyone!

    Not everyone learns anything from watching birds, but I’ve learned to fly —
    When I’d rather die, to keep fighting for life beyond horizons!

    If it means to change the dreams I have given chase, when no chance remains
    I’ll rearrange aims during recovery, dream new priorities!

    You cannot kill dreams — All you can do is rip seams, spill them like birdseed,
    And feed an army of starving artist starlings singing for supper!


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