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Feb 11, 2011 06:18 PM

food haiku

I have been creating food haiku from Japanese original versions (mostly ancient). Here are a few samples, and I need your help in deciding which ones you like best, to get a better idea of the direction this project should take. I started out with fish. Lots and lots of fish. Did fruit. Did a LOT of beans. I am doing vegetables at the moment. I really like the results. Hope you do, too, and any helpful advice will be appreciated.

Libidinous gods / Multitudinous seed pods / Pistachio nuts

Angry sea urchin / Jet black spine needles erect / Stands from where it sat

"I'll see you later" / I say to my ramen pork / Let it sink for now

Five-ray yellowtail / I was watching them rise up / There hangs a rainbow

Wife primps our dinner / As if it is haute cuisine / A whiff of yuzu

Poor shiitake / Tofu takes the credit for / The mushroom flavor

His arms cradling / Honey mushroom bushelful / Father returns home

Smell of dengaku / Unshaven komuso monk / Slips off to the side

Kenchinjiru soup / Konnyaku jelly pieces / Cooking of my mom

An arctic surf clam / Color of a young lady / After it is grilled
Thinning of ice fish / Surely can't be construed as / Dewdrops of the moon

Kuruma ebi / When you brush off wood shavings / They do spring to life

Is the spring fountain / Sadness of navy blue crab / I am wondering

For a jellyfish / That cannot ride the ebb tide / Dizziness galore

Oh, and there are pictures that accompany the poetry:

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  1. This is a seriously awesome project! I love it! A friend and I construct haiku, but ours have not featured food (his idea of a good meal is a pie over a bin to catch the crumbs). So for my favourite I will vote for the first one, I love the association of pistachios with libidinous gods - how sensual!

    1 Reply
    1. re: TheHuntress

      Thank you!
      The first one is my current favorite, too :)

    2. I like the jellyfish. I'm impressed...I can't write Haiku since your'e not suppose to include subjective arguments and they somehow sneak in when I'm not looking, i.e.
      Beans or lack of beans / Never ending argument / Chili con Carne.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DonShirer

        Thank you!

        I've decided to forego any traditional rules. BUT I do adhere to these rules: 1) Be faithful to the poet's intent as much as possible 2) No exceptions to 5.7.5. syllable structure (unless I count wrong!)

        I've discovered that these constraints actually make the results satisfying indeed.

        And yes, the jellyfish one makes me chuckle.

        (Thank for for the bean addition!)

      2. yes, these are fantastic! i love the arctic surf clam one.
        second fave is the poor shitaki.

        my first attempt:

        ankimo so plump / only uni is as feared / misunderstood flesh

        3 Replies
        1. re: mariacarmen

          but i have a question: what is the rule about "be faithful to the poet's intent as much as possible" mean? you're the poet when composing these, aren't you?

          what i love about haiku's is what appears to me (with my complete lack of sophistication and knowledge of poetry) the turn the third stanza takes - the sort of surprise veering to a related but yet new realm. am i completely wrong about that? (and i know i didn't follow that myself in my first lame attempt at food haiku!)

          1. re: mariacarmen


            Thank you for the ankimo addition :)
            My uni haiku with pictures:

            When I discovered these precious gems, I searched the internet for translations. NONE! So I decided to attempt it myself. Yes, these are my poems, but they are based on original Japanese texts, which are wonderfully witty and clever. Now, with the word orders being different, and with my 5.7.5. syllables structural constraint, sometimes I do have to do a bit of rearranging to convey the essence of the poet's moment.

            Do another one! You are good at it.

            1. re: grocerytrekker

              oh yes, i did read that you were doing translations, so i should have understood what you meant about the poet's intent. great pics - made me hungry.

              thanks! i will try my hand at some more and if i like any i'll post them. thanks for sharing this!

        2. Bunched hanging Daikon
          Dangled strands of Persimmons
          Joyous Fall Harvest.


          Your blog is just wonderful.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FoodFuser

            Daikon WITH persimmons!

            Thank you. Here are mine:

            Daikon radishes / Pulling hands imparted with / Evening sun's red glow
            Setting sun lingers / In the vicinity of / Drying persimmons


          2. "Honey mushroom bushelful" and the jelly fish one are particularly wonderful.

            6 Replies
              1. re: grocerytrekker

                I especially liked the mushroom one because it reminded me of my father once getting 2 paper grocery bags full of morels in the woods near our cottage.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Morel is definitely my favorite mushroom. Also, impossible to mistake for something else :)

                  I don't know if there are any haiku for morels, I doubt it, but I'll look.

                  Check out this wondrous red mushroom, "egg mushroom":

                  Here's another favorite of mine. Pine mushroom:

                  1. re: grocerytrekker

                    Gorgeous, both.

                    Forest fire one spring
                    Forest full of morels next
                    Man happy with haul

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I see. Morels thrive where forests are scorched.

                      No morel haiku yet... but I will do more mushrooms, for sure.

                      Here's enoki:

                      tree ears:

                      and something I've never tried, bracket fungus:

                      1. re: grocerytrekker

                        I've eaten fresh tree ears (from Taiwan Nat'l U ag station) but never seen them in situ. V interesting.