Haiku about Sound: week 2 of rewriting your well-being

Sound is the vocabulary of nature.

Pierre Schaeffer, An interview with Pierre Schaeffer

Thank you for returning to week 2 of your Haiku for You writing programme! I hope this week’s theme brings you as much comfort as last week’s Haiku for Home post.

To any newbies, hello and welcome to the journey! For a summary of what Haiku for You is all about, head over to the introductory post, which explains what the full twelve weeks on this blog are going to look like.

Have you found a convenient location where you can sit, gather your thoughts and listen to the world around you? For this session, don’t worry, silence is not essential, but to make sure your exercise is not interrupted, perhaps let others know that you are taking a little time for yourself.

In a world of increasing sound pollution, depending on where you live, silence can often be difficult to attain. Instead of avoiding it, we are going to strive towards finding our inner quietness. This is one of the most important elements of mindfulness, and funnily enough, a feeling that haiku can guide us closer to.

Are you ready?

Take a slow, deep breath in …

…and then back out.

Now, we will open our ears to something that constantly surrounds us in our everyday lives:

sound.

Thoughts about sound

Did you know that sounds can cause stress, anxiety and depression by overstimulating our senses without us even realising it? Have you ever found yourself feeling irritable or exhausted after being in a city buzzing with people, or the clatter of market stalls? Or, even just the hum of a motorway or car radio in the distance? Have you been working in a bustling office when out of the blue, people stop talking and you could hear a pin drop?

It’s interesting how alien and sometimes, unsettling, silence can feel to us. The amount of thought and energy we pay to our surroundings can unknowingly affect our well-being. This is why it is important we find a way to control how we absorb our own world. Haiku can help.

Haiku is all about being true to nature.

Think of the sounds you hear in everyday life: traffic, birds, dogs barking, neighbours shouting, bees, lawn mowers, drills, babies crying, doors opening and closing, car horns, keyboards typing, phones ringing, the music you listen to on repeat. These work together to create your atmosphere.

What can you hear right now?

Are you in the garden, where you can hear the birds chirping, or children playing? Are you in the kitchen, where you can hear a kettle boiling, or a washing machine spinning? Are you in a study, where the buzz of electronic devices such as a computer surrounds you? It is easy to categorise sounds as either good or bad, but the key to mindfulness is not to use energy to ignore them, but identify them, and then think of them as just sounds…

Just sounds … See? They are not as threatening as they seem.

Embracing something as simple as a sound can allow us to appreciate our existence within the present and accept that we can’t control everything. This act of conscious resistance can allow us to surrender to a losing battle for a few minutes – and it feels good to lose. Consider how exhausting it is, even to compete with a television during a group conversation. Surrendering sometimes means we may feel less emotionally exhausted. It also means we can prioritise our energy for the things we enjoy.

There is a comfortable kind of pacifism and control involved in mindfulness, as we acknowledge, embrace, and then put aside.

This is a useful tool whenever you aren’t physically able to escape noise. For example, if you are using public transport, or in a department store, you can take part in mindfulness and nobody will even know. It’s an invisible but powerful act.

Haiku about sound: examples of my own

Wooded tree tunnel -
a canopy of quiet,
secret symphony
brazil topno WwR7qM8XRWA unsplash
Children in Lockdown -
lollipops looking for clouds,
beckoning the bees
james wainscoat b7MZ6iGIoSI unsplash
Each Thursday at eight
upon the dormant doorsteps,
clapping with raw hands
andrey larin Kodkas71tT8 unsplash 1

Now it’s your turn…Haiku about sound is your prompt. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, there is a sound calling out to you. Listen out for those haiku!

How to write your own haiku about sound

Exercise

Exercise duration: approximately 30 minutes

1. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings. What can you hear? Listen long enough to discover at least three different sounds.

2. Now that you have spotted your sounds, listen to how they sound. Are they sad? Are they happy? Do they have their own rhythm?

3. List some of these sounds. Don’t worry, they can be as ordinary as you like. One could even be the sound of your own breath.

4. Close your eyes and picture what comes to mind with these particular sounds. Go with instinct. Don’t overthink it.

5. What is it about these sounds that makes you feel comfortable? 5. Come back to the present moment, holding on to the comforting details that matter most.

Just remember, it’s three lines of 5-7-5 syllables! Refer back to How to write Haiku guidelines.

Once you have found the words for the above, say your haiku out loud. Listen to your three lines and think of it as your evidence of the world you are creating for yourself on a daily basis.

How does your world sound to you?

We easily absorb our environments, so it’s vital that we carefully consider what we invite into our minds and emotions. Well done for exploring sound in depth with me, and most importantly, returning to the safe surface where you are in control!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday for Week Three, which will bring you a new and exciting theme! For now, consider how nature is creating its cacophony of sounds just for you, but it is up to you to maintain their harmony. Keep tuning in, but also remember how to tune out.

Now, let’s haiku away!

If you are happy to, please leave your beautiful haiku about sound in the comments section below this post.

See next week – Week Three: Haiku about Weather.
See last week – Week One: Haiku for Home.

Haiku about sound

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34 Comments
  1. Chris

    Love your words about sound.
    I am not good with noise. Your comments about not being in control helped me view things differently.

    Would love to be able to write good haiku,

    Today’s attempt at a sound theme haiku

    Silent solitude
    White streaked sky, pink poppies nod.
    Distant mower starts.

    • Georgia

      Perfect way of capturing the contrast of a single moment! I’m enjoying your haiku, especially the personification of the poppies nodding! So glad the words about control helped in terms of perspective too. That’s great. Thank you!

  2. Wendy Evans

    Haven’t listened like this for a long time, it’s sad at how many sounds I take for granted.

    Birds tweeting away.
    Sound of a car passing by.
    So peaceful and calm.

    • Georgia

      Don’t worry, we all need to tune back in sometimes – or rather, tune out. Your haiku sounds like you managed to do this well today, which is great! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Peter Gaskell

    birdsong at dusk
    invites dining outside, ice-cream
    van jingle jangles

    17 syllables – I found better rhythm with 4-8-5. Am I being naughty?

    • Georgia

      Birdsong at dusk is a lovely line! Thank you for this! The use of haiku in this particular online haiku hub is to use the 5-7-5 structure as a safe and focused form that is beneficial in daily life for mental well-being purposes, but in general haiku-world, you can stray from this towards whatever you personally feel is most beneficial for the poem in question. I hope this helps.

  4. Peter Gaskell

    Lorries trundling by
    Water trickling into pond
    A balm for earsore

    • Georgia

      I can both hear and picture this! Thanks so much for sharing your haiku.

  5. Vivienne

    Church bells ringing out
    Sound breaking through the silence
    Bride and groom appear

    • Georgia

      Thanks for this haiku! The image and sound suggest so much suspense before the final revelation!

    • Georgia

      Thanks for this haiku. It has so much suspense before the final revelation – an especially lovely final line!

  6. Jenny Jayne

    Bodies snoring here,
    A high pitched hum beneath me
    For now all is well.

    • Georgia

      This is so intriguing! It’s great! I wonder what the high pitched hum is. Thank you!

  7. Vincent Jayne

    Sails flapping on boat,
    Dolphins playing in the wake
    Persons rejoicing

    • Georgia

      Thanks for taking the time to write this! This haiku is such a happy place. Delightful!

  8. Daniel Jayne

    Meows heard through doors,
    Our new daily visitor,
    A welcome surprise.

    • Georgia

      Definitely a welcome surprise! I love this cat, in haiku and in cat-person. Thank you! <3

  9. Peter Gaskell

    smashing coal from block
    clear echo hammer’s angled
    right, it’s richly struck

    inspired by Seamus Heaney ‘Clearances’

    • Georgia

      Such a toughness shown in this laboursome act. Thanks for sharing. It’s lovely to hear such a variety of haiku here. 🙂

  10. Peter Gaskell

    Chime of wineglasses
    Curlew trawls seadusk, beached gull
    Guzzling dropped ice-cream

    inspired by Ted Hughes ‘Crow and the Birds’

    • Georgia

      Ah, Ted Hughes! Great to hear about specific inspirations. What a postcard image! The first line immediately sets the scene – lovely choice of sound that says so much. Thank you, Peter!

  11. Anna Söderlund

    Nice to read all your Haikus!
    As english is not my first language it’s a bit hard to find the right words and feelings sometimes, but I try 🙂 Here is my sound-haiku

    Thunder far away
    and curtains are flickering
    We know what awaits us

    • Georgia

      You’re doing brilliantly, Anna! 🙂 This haiku really shows the apprehension and gradual build-up when thunder is on its way! Thank you for this. 🙂

  12. Peter Gaskell

    The threat of an approaching storm, Anna. Subtly spoken, well done!

  13. Carolyn Jones

    This haiku was written by Meic and me (mostly Meic) after we walked to Blackpill yesterday:

    Wavelets are breaking
    On the shell-strewn empty shore
    Slow sandy susurrations

    • Georgia

      Wow, susurrations is such a lovely word! Perfect description and thoughtful observation! Sounds like a delightful walk! Thank you to you both!

  14. Lotte Williams

    Thank you for these weekly haiku blogs- I’m really enjoying. Here’s mine on sound…

    Slight breeze caresses
    Relaxing rustle through leaves
    Chitter chatter birds

    xx

    • Georgia

      I’m glad, Charlotte! Welcome back! This haiku is so atmospheric and it was so calming to read! Sounds like you were truly immersed in the moment. Thank you!

  15. Peter Gaskell

    Thanks for your replies, Georgia. I’ve taken the opportunity to read poems by some of the greats on the theme of SOUND both to practise crafting my haiku and to point readers to such poems which are the source of my inspiration.
    With wellbeing in mind, I wanted to convey Heaney’s idea there are gains to be had from tough labour or experience if you find the right method for getting through it. The poet is thanking his mother for teaching him this, though the haiku 5-7-5 is too short a form to include this uplifting point. Please do check ‘Clearances’!

    • Georgia

      That’s brilliant, Peter. I’m so happy these posts are triggering that kind of research and discovery. I’m sure everyone is glad to hear about the inspiration behind your haiku, as am I! 🙂 I suppose each journey to haiku is different. 🙂

  16. Chris

    I love Lotte’s haiku. It really struck a chord with me, bringing back the sounds and feelings I have when taking my dog for a walk
    In some nearby woods. I haven’t been since lockdown but this haiku reminds me of the sounds and total peace and relaxation I feel there.

  17. Peter Gaskell

    Those noisy birds again…

    Gulls cry as sun sinks
    Golden into ocean and
    Day’s splendour subsides

    • Georgia

      Beautiful! I can imagine this as a watercolour painting, where the sun is melting into the seawater. What a lovely image. Definitely very calming. Thank you!

  18. Lotte Williams

    Thank you, Chris. That’s really lovely of you to say. I wrote this whilst walking by myself through the woods at the end of our street (my children were ahead of me with my partner… I don’t get any time to myself at the moment so this was rather magical!) I really hope you manage to get out again with your dog sooner rather than later x

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