The Kyoto Garden photos were taken in 1977 by Paul Atroshenko, an old friend and artist whom I met in Bondi during the sixties. He spent five weeks photographing some of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. See his website at http://www.atroshenko.com/
I am not an expert on writing haiku, but I am fascinated by this form of poetry. What I like about this form of poetry is the discipline it requires. You must write, using the minimum of words, about an experience often set in nature, often linked to the seasons, without using similes or metaphors, rhyming, punctuation, personification or abstract images and language. A haiku is always untitled. Juxtapositioning of images, typically oppositional ones, is usual, as is the depiction of a moment in time (an aha! moment).
This latter aspect was driven home to me recently when a member of a haiku group arrived by car with an egg-bound spider, exclaiming: ‘Help! A haiku moment!’ as she proceeded to take the creature carefully outside into the garden.
When I googled “Haiku” and “How to Write A Haiku” recently, I found surprisingly good, if a little technical, summaries under Wiki. The Wikipedia article points out that “the essence of haiku is ‘cutting’… often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a cutting word between them.” And, according to Wikihow: “The Japanese haiku and the English language haiku have several critical differences. In Japanese the haiku is composed of 17 sound units divided into 3 parts–one with 5 units, one with 7 units and another with 5 units. Since sound units are much shorter than English syllables, it has been found that following the Japanese example results in a much longer poem.” The haiku in English has been written for about seventy years and the form is still evolving. It often contains around 8-12 syllables. The trend has been to shorten the number of syllables in each line, and to represent the ‘cut’ by way of linking two of the lines, either the first two or the last two.
Basho (1644-1694), considered by many to be the master of haiku in Japan, wrote: “Haiku are a way of seeing, hearing and feeling, a special state of consciousness… Learn from the pine about the pine, from the bamboo about the bamboo…No matter how well worded your poems may be, if the feeling is not natural, if you and object have not become one, your poems are not true haiku, but merely imitations of reality.”