Hexapod Haiku Challenge – one week left!

It’s amazing how quickly the time passes. Seems like just yesterday I announced the 4th Annual Hexapod Haiku Challenge (was actually almost two months ago), and now there is only a week left to submit entries! I don’t think we’ll reach 514 entries, like last year, but we’ll see. One thing that surprises me is that we have no entries through Twitter yet, despite the vibrant haiku community there!

So here’s a great source for inspiration that will undoubtedly fire up everyone’s creative juices: David G. Lanoue’s Haiku of Kobayashi Issa database. 10,000 of Issa’s haiku are available for you perusal and targeted searching! Here’s one for dragonfly, which returns these delightful reads (among 51 total haiku about dragonflies):

.とんぼうのはこしているや菊の花
tombô no hako shite iru ya kiku no hana

the dragonfly
takes a crap…
chrysanthemum

I love the contrast – a delicate, honorable, inspiring scene.

.蜻蛉の尻でなぶるや角田川
tombô no shiri de naburu ya sumida-gawa

the dragonfly
dips his butt…
Sumida River

Seems like this should be her butt – perhaps a female laying eggs? The image definitely conjures memories from hiking along the Eno River in summer.

.蝶とんぼ吹とばされつ屁ひり虫
chô tombo fuki-tobasaretsu hehirimushi

butterfly and dragonfly
are blown away…
fart bug

I assume this haiku alludes to a stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), but there certainly are numerous other stinky insects out there!

Too bad we don’t also have databases for the other great haiku masters, as it would be fun to read their poems about insects. Do they focus on different taxa? Do they have a different tone? I suppose I could always comb through books to find their works! We’ll have about 1000 haiku ourselves by the end of this challenge, 99.9% of which focus on insects and their relatives. Maybe we’ll make ours available through a searchable database … hmmmmm …

In the meantime we’d love to read your haiku about hexapods! Deadline: 11:59pm, March 20th (first day of spring!) either…

  1. as an email to ncsuinsects@gmail.com OR
  2. as tweets (be sure to add @ncsuinsects #HexapodHaiku) OR
  3. on 3×5 cards (one per haiku; cards will not be returned) mailed to the following address:
    Hexapod Haiku
    NCSU Insect Museum
    Department of Entomology
    North Carolina State University
    Box 7613
    Raleigh, NC 27695 USA

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