In Five, Seven, Five (5)
By the Katikati stream (7)
Is Haiku Pathway (5)
We spent some time in Katikati on the way to Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. The small rural town of 4000 boasts its murals, bird walkways and bush tracks. It also has Haiku Pathway, which has boulders with hand-sculpted poems from all over the world.
Haiku is one style of traditional poetry in Japan. Typically three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables describe nature and the poet’s thoughts and feelings. Though it was well established by the 15th century, contemporary Haiku and English Haiku in particular are popular around the world. They do not always stick to the rules of syllables and a seasonal word.
The other popular and traditional style of poetry is Tanka, meaning short poem, which has syllables of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7. It does not have to contain a seasonal word. My mother loved this type of poetry as a hobby and often entered poetry competitions held by her favourite newspaper.
Being compact and beautiful is the essence of Japanese culture. We love sophisticated yet practical things that function in many ways at the same time. Japanese traditional rooms and gardens are other examples.
Counting syllables in English is a bit tricky unlike in Japanese, but counting the vowels is a safe bet. You can easily check online, too. And remember, you don’t have to stick to 5-7-5.