Noise Haiku (series: Beauty in Noise, part 5)

Mysteries of noise.
by Dave Skipper

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Introduction

Haiku (俳句). One of the many quintessentially Japanese artforms. Traditional haiku have very specific rules governing their content and construction. From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku):

  • The essence of haiku is “cutting” (kiru). This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji (“cutting word”) between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
  • Traditional haiku consist of 17 on (also known as morae though often loosely translated as “syllables”), in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 on, respectively.
  • A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such terms.
  • Modern Japanese haiku (現代俳句 gendai-haiku) are increasingly unlikely to follow the tradition of 17 on or to take nature as their subject, but the use of juxtaposition continues to be honored in both traditional and modern haiku.

Noise music is full of paradox and juxtaposition. Although for the most part noise music deserves to speak for itself (my expansive writings on this blog notwithstanding), haiku seems to me to be an appropriate word-based medium for succinctly distilling some of the mysteries of noise. So I spent some time putting a few noise haiku together, and I introduce 14 of them below. They are mainly written with the sounds and experience of a live noise music performance in mind, specifically from the ‘harsh noise’ style.

Reading tips

Haiku are by their nature meant to be slowly and quietly ingested. They are designed to be layered and thought-provoking. The more space and quiet and thought that you can give to each single haiku, the more you will appreciate it. Hopefully they provide new angles on the subject matter that you may not have considered before.

I suppose the ideal way to read the 14 haiku below would be to print them off, and read one or two a day over the next couple of weeks. I even wondered whether to publish them daily, one at a time. Anyhow, here they are, and I know you won’t be able to resist just skimming through them all now in one go!

Mysteries of Noise

[14 ‘Noise Haiku’ by Dave Skipper]

Designed to intrigue
Stimulate and resonate
These are noise haiku

Solitude is bliss
The silence of my own thoughts
Then delight – pure noise!

Dark smoky basements
Jarring noise in secret dens
Familiar sounds

White noise frequencies
Infinite permutations
Chaos? Potential!

Ambient static
Anticipation rising
Harsh noise punctuates

Noise like ice crystals
Sharp as nails in my ears
Exquisite, melting

Suffocating noise
Enveloping and choking
Breathless… with wonder

Moments frozen still
Of all-encompassing noise
My life stretches out

Immersed in the noise
I cannot escape its force
It helps me rise free

Noise is memory
Amniotic cognition
Once forgotten peace

The most abstract sounds
Strange, mysterious noises
Visceral, lucid

One waveform, all noise
One noise, all coalescent
Layers of details

Focussed noise effects
Dizzy sonic illusions
Can’t compute – hurray!

Louder than loudest
And still ramping it up more
Noise twin comes: silence

(If you enjoyed these, you can read more of my poems here.)

DEPARTMENT PAGE FOR THIS SERIES: BEAUTY IN NOISE
PREVIOUS ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES:
 Interruption…
NEXT ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES: Nebulae…

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2 Responses to Noise Haiku (series: Beauty in Noise, part 5)

  1. Pingback: Interruption… (series: Beauty in Noise, part 4) | The Word on Noise

  2. Pingback: Nebulae… (series: Beauty in Noise, part 6) | The Word on Noise

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