Tomorrow is Haiku Day, a fun little holiday to celebrate one of the oldest and most lyrical forms of poetry around. For those who don’t know, a haiku is a short poem that finds its origins in traditional Japanese poetry circa the mid sixteen hundreds. In Japan, the poem is often written as a single line containing 17 on, or syllables, those of course being defined somewhat differently in Japanese than in English. This type of poetry was originally known to be primarily about the natural world and the observance of man within it, but over the centuries new forms have arisen covering a broader range of subject matter. In Western haiku, we’re taught to use the more simplified format: three lines in succession consisting of 5, 7, and 5 English syllables respectively.
The beauty of nature as related in haiku has recently seen a major western revival, with prose suggestive of Asian trees, flowers, and weather patterns making a comeback. Perhaps directly related to this rebirth of eco-influenced haiku is the re-popularization in the west of another Japanese staple: the kimono. Like our 17 syllable poem, flora and fauna are the primary theme of most fabrics used in dress kimono, with birds, indigenous trees, and sakura blossoms leading the pack. Americanized versions of these motifs and patterns were disseminated in the 1960s and are once again gaining a fashionable edge.
The style payoff of kimono patterned accessories? Just like haiku, it’s pretty poetic.