A DREAMKU PRIMER (Part 1 of 3): Writing Haiku-Like Poems About Your Night Dreams
Writing Haiku-Like Poems About Your Night Dreams
"...a quick way to the heart of a dream, that presents the images in a dream-like form....I’m gaining insights from [writing dreamku] as well as enjoying, it, and that’s a lovely combination." Mary Pat, in email correspondence.
I am a long-time dream worker and haiku enthusiast. I’ve written free verse based on my night dreams for a very long time. In more recent years, I have been writing dream-based haiku. Although I have not been fully comfortable that my dream haiku honor the haiku form, I have still felt compelled to keep writing them. Mostly because they have been a very effective and inspiring dream work tool, but also because I want to become more adept at honoring the haiku form. Then, a few months ago, it occurred to me that what I am actually doing is developing a new form, rooted in the haiku tradition. I am now terming what I write "dreamku." [Over the year since writing this primer, the term dreamku has come to cover not only the clearly haiku-like form itself, but the tanka-like (5 lines), monoku-like (one line), and two-line forms in which I write about my dreams. Readers also use it to refer to the entire mix of these I frequently string together to share a dream. For the traditional parameters of these additional small forms I would suggest googling, though the two-liner is not in as much use as the tanka or even the monoku forms.]
I write dreamku primarily to explore and understand my dreams. However, writers who are not focused on dream work as I am, can use it simply to draw inspiration from their night dreams. In addition, the economy and subtleties of this haiku-like form offer many opportunities to experiment with and learn about evocation and suggestion, among other aspects of writing. In short, in addition to being a dream work tool, dreamku can help writers tap their dreams for poetry prompts, as well as stretch and develop their craft. I hasten to add that writing dreamku is, above all, an enjoyable and satisfying pursuit.
To use dreamku for dream work or to tap your dreams for writing prompts, I assume the keeping of a dream journal. If you wish to write dreamku specifically for dream work, a dream journal is essential as well for recording your insights. [Important note: over the years since writing this Primer, the dreamku I write have come to serve as my dream journal. That is, I no longer keep a separate detailed prose record. The dreamku themselves serve me quite well as a journal since I write dreamku almost every day. Ultimately, I believe each dreamer needs to find her own best methods of doing this work.] Also for the purposes of doing dream work I assume some experience with dream exploration. If you are not interested in using dreamku to gain dream insights, but simply to find poetry prompts in your dreams, you need only try writing as suggested in PARTS TWO and THREE of this primer. By the way, these two gifts that writing dreamku offers – obtaining dream insights or inspiration for poetry – are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They aren’t for me.
This primer is, of necessity, a lengthy post. I am splitting it into three sections to be posted on three separate days. In PART ONE (below): WRITING DREAMKU AS DREAM WORK I address how I find writing dreamku benefits my dream work. In PART TWO: ELEMENTS OF THE HAIKU FORM USED IN DREAMKU I describe which of the many elements and subtleties of the haiku form I try to adhere to in writing dreamku. And in PART THREE: HOW TO WRITE DREAMKU are suggestions for how to write dreamku, based on my years of experience. Examples from my own dreamku illustrate much of what I say in PARTS TWO and THREE. As I could not avoid some overlap between PARTS TWO and THREE, I suggest you do read both parts.
Writing dreamku is part of a welcome change in how I relate to my dreams. Instead of chasing after every dream, as I’ve done for many, many years, and then analyzing each at length and in great detail (often consulting the I Ching, The Tarot, the Runes, etc., as well), I let my intuition tell me when and how to respond to them. The vast majority of the time I now feel urged to write a dreamku. A woman who recently began writing dreamku says she, too, finds it changes the approach to dream work in a way that she both likes and is comfortable with. I do still very occasionally feel a need to journal at length about a dream or go to The Tarot to explore it. But these approaches are now exceptions; writing dreamku being by far my preferred response to dreams. However, I imagine the prevalence of dreamku as a way to work with one’s dreams will vary for each dream worker, especially for those who do not write poetry as a primary creative pursuit as I do.
Over time, I am finding that dreamku occasionally act as a vastly condensed form of dream record. Usually I feel the need to record an entire dream in my journal. However, sometimes I have the urge to completely forego recording the full dream and go straight to writing dreamku. When I am so moved, writing dreamku serves just as well as recording a complete dream, are more fun to write, and take less time. Quite understandably, this happens mostly with shorter dreams.
I also find that the focus on one moment in a dream that writing dreamku requires can sometimes be enlightening with respect to the total dream. As if any one of the many moments within a dream may serve as a doorway to it's heart, if we are fully present to it. It is much like the insight that can come when writing a title for a dream (as some dream workers do for ease of reference).
Not all dreamku I have written yield important or pointed meanings for the original dream moment or full dream. Some simply remain moments I enjoyed working with in writing the dreamku or found amusing when I dreamed them. Others remain compelling, puzzling dream moments that have not given up any of their mysteries, and that is wonderful also. However, many of the dreamku I write yield an insight during the writing process. And although these insights are not always apparent in the resultant dreamku, they tend to continue to echo there for me.
PART TWO: ELEMENTS OF THE HAIKU FORM USED IN DREAMKU can be read here. See "Resources" below for relevant links, as well as the sidebar.
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Resources: DREAMS: The International Association for the Study of Dreams. HAIKU: The Isn'ts of Haiku. DREAMKU: See DAILY DREAMKU at top of blog homepage, and search this blog for "dreamku" (there is a post every month of the entire month's daily dreamku).
‘til next time, keep dreaming,
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blogs ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT.