Thursday, April 9, 2015

Poem #8 for Poetry Month-Japanese dodoitsu

After weeks of solitary thumb-sized scouts, the island is now buzzing with hummingbirds.  Hummingbirds, mostly rufous, sometimes Anna’s, are so speedy that when our vast swaths of honeysuckle vines bloom, the aggressive rufous dive-bomb each other and just barely miss us out working. Sometimes they bonk themselves into our windows, which must be a terrible shock to them but so far, as with this little fellow in the photo, they’ve flown off after a dazed rest and we can only hope they’ve recovered successfully.

I’m using a Japanese form, the dodoitsu, which is unrhymed, non-metrical, four lines and with a syllable count of 7 7 7 5. It’s a merciful relief after trying to write a Greek paean with its dramatic emoting on every third syllable. I found myself feeling like a ham stage actor with an irritating vocal lunging tic so I bade farewell to the Greeks as they were just too much for my stiff and sore post-gardening self this morning. I raided my serene Japanese poetry file for you today.

Rufous Hummingbird Dodoitsu #1
Little fledgling on the ground
How came you there my pretty?
Feathers ruffled eyes half-mast?
Sugar water quick!

Hummingbird War Dodoitsu #2
Four gram warriors zooming
Angry whirring winds resound
How many men do you know
Fight over flowers?


  1. Oh, I really do love these two! I must try this form.

    1. Thanks, Lea! I think you'll enjoy playing with the dodoitsu too. Unfussy yet capable of surprising the poet!