Dreams: senryū poetry

This week’s W3 poetry prompt is hosted by Poet of the Week, Sarah at Wordsandcoffeewriting.
The poetry prompt is to write a poem on the theme of “dreams”. It is to be of 14 lines or fewer. 14 lines or fewer? I still haven’t written a sonnet. A sonnet has 14 lines. Now might be the time to write a sonnet. Hmm?

As it turns out, I don’t write a sonnet. Instead, I try my hand at writing a senryū.

What is a senryū?

What is a senryū? Hopefully, it is a bit like the one you are about to read! 
A senryū is like a haiku but, instead of being about nature and the seasons, it’s about the human condition. The irony of a situation. (well that’s my understanding of it so far). Like the haiku, it is a Japanese short poem with only 3 lines. 5, 7, 5. 17 syllables in all. 


Have you ever dreamt you were falling but never reach the ground?
I’m Falling… Falling… | Dream | Illustration: Lesley Scoble

Falling… Falling…

I’m falling, falling
in an abyss… then,
awake with a jerk

Lesley Scoble 1st Senryū 2023

Have you ever dreamt you were flying?

I’m flying… flying…
upward t’ward the celeste
overhead my bed

Lesley Scoble 2nd Senryū 2023

Have you ever dreamt you were running towards something but it never gets any nearer?

I run to you—but
gain no ground—you wait; stand still,
but my feet are stuck

Lesley Scoble 3rd Senryū 2023

A little bit of senryū history

Senryū is named after the Japanese poet Karai Senryū 1718-1790.  He devised a variant of Matsuo Bashō’s haiku and named this new form after himself, (well, you would, wouldn’t you?).

Senryū’s variance of haiku was to change the poem from being about nature and the seasons (as is the wont of haiku) to being about human situations. 

Senryū may have an irony and humour in it, whereas Haiku is more serious in tone.

Matsuo Bashō 1644-1694 created the original poetry form of Haiku. 

My thanks to David for the weekly challenge W3 poetry prompt and my thanks to Sarah, the Poet of the Week, for their inspiration and motivation.

12 responses to “Dreams: senryū poetry”

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