summer cicadas /
make love on every branch – /
frustrated poets /
sit alone in the shadows /
writing refrains with their quills //
This is written for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, where my blogging friend Georgia (from Bastet & Sekhmet’s Library) is today’s Ghost Writer! I will also share it with Heeding Haiku with HA since I (accidentally!) used a classical summer kigo – cicadas – and that was the goal of the July 30th prompt. The kyoka is a “close cousin” to the tanka so I hope HA will accept this poem.
Georgia introduced us to the kyoka and the background information is very interesting. I hope you will visit the prompt and visit Georgia’s blog. I wrote one several months ago but wasn’t comfortable with it – you can visit and deliver the final verdict. Perhaps with Georgia’s information and examples this one will be better – but then, while I have a great sense of humor, writing humor is not my strongest suit!
Georgia tells us that kyoka means “playful verse” and there were three types of kyoka:
- Kokin: tries to use all the rules of waka (tanka) but ends up being comical;
- Tenmei: tries to impart an artistic flare to the poem whilst using colloquial language and writing about every day subjects and emotions; and
- Honka-dori: parodies an existing waka (tanka).
These are the guidelines for kyoka:
1. syllable structure of 5-7-5-7-7;
2. two parts – the kami-no-ku (upper phrase) in 5-7-5, and the shimo-no-ku (lower phrase) in 7-7;
3. a subtle, unexpected turn in the middle of the poem, usually after line 2 or 3;
4. syllable count of 31 or fewer syllables;
5. humorous verse or parody of a famous waka (tanka);
6. may contain internal rhyme but avoids end rhyme; and
7. uses little or no punctuation
Here is an example from Yomo No Akara:
In Yoshiwara /
the women are showing their wares /
This evening – /
Blossoms glowing in the echoes /
of vesper bells //
© Yomo No Akara (Translated by Steven Carter)
(In other words, the women of Yoshiwara are plying their wares in the red light district.)
Here is an example from Georgia:
in Busch Stadium /
the pitcher smiled then let loose /
smashing the batter’s arm /
he sure balled up that inning /
two others’d been based on balls* /
© G.s.k. ‘14
Quite clever, don’t you think? Especially with the puns and word play.
I chose to make my kyoka a parody of Issa’s “Summer Cicadas”, even though I probably should have parodied a tanka and not a haiku.
koi wo seyo koi wo seyo seyo natsu no semi
go ahead, make love! /
make love! /
summer cicadas //
What exactly do mating cicadas look like? (Skip to 1:08.) [Warning – this is steamy stuff!]
Okay, it wasn’t *that* steamy. But you’d be “really animated” too if you’d been captive that long… A better soundtrack might have improved the video. Just sayin’.