A Dodoitsu is a Japanese form, and as it is the first of a handful of Japanese forms on my list of 100. So now seems like a good time to pause to add some information on Japanese poetry techniques.

If you want more detailed info on Japanese poetry, you should go to Michael Dylan Welch’s site: Graceguts, and while you are at it check out his links too.

Japanese poetry is typically brief and imagistic. Many of the terms and techniques below apply specifically to Haiku but they can be applied to any poetry. And because Japanese poems are typically brief, I will keep this list short.

Kire-ji is a cutting word, it is a reference to the two part structure of ideas or images found in Haiku and in Japanese style poetry.

Renso is a loose association of images often called Leaping in English, it is the comparison and/or contrasting of two ideas/images in an indirect way.

Kigo means season word, it is a word that implies a specific season.

Shasei is sketching from life, being observational, showing a scene rather than telling about what you feel about a scene.

Wabi-sabi lossely means quiet elegance, beauty, loneliness, and simplicity. It could also mean the realization of the finiteness of the moment and how that helps one to appreciate the moment all the more.

Techniques common in Japanese poetry, and in Haiku in particular, are narrowing your focus, switching between senses, and using concise simple language.

Japanese forms are also written in onji, Japanese units of sound measurement which are shorter than the syllables we use in English.

The Dodoitsu is a folk-song often written about work or love. They are written in lines of 7,7,7, and 5 onji. For this one, I will use syllables.

click and tap and pause tap tap
rhythm begins, is it rhythm?
the tap tap clicking fingers
typing their exam?

thrill of screeching brakes create
laughter and kisses, slow night
moves faster when the car stops
rushing wind gone still

buzz of night insects and frogs
hidden birds call and respond
each step I take brings silence
behind, the world renews

Okay, that last one has an extra syllable, but it works.


1 Comment

  1. Good stuff…. drop ME from the last line and your one over. Be well.

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