A Lesson by Dinesh Sairam

The other twin.


You may very well have known that a Senyru derives its form from a Haiku. However, there is a slight difference between a Senyru and a Haiku.

The most common definition of a Senyru is that it is related to human nature, and somewhat satirical, although 'satirical' does not always refer to 'funny'. Haiku, if you recall, always contains an element of nature and never passes judgement. It only describes a snapshot of a feeling. Senyru, however, contains strong human emotions, and satire that is aimed in good or bad faith.

There are minor debates going on about the actual definition of a Senyru, but perhaps the best way to go about defining it, is to look at the earliest ones. The English translation of the late 18th and 19th century Japanese Senyrus can be found in "Japanese Life and Character in Senryu" by R. H. Blyth:

The doctor killed him,
    But they express their thanks,
Most graciously.

It is clear that this Senyru is conveying a strong sense of muddled sorrow and gratitude. There are also Senyrus so satirical, and fall on the lighter side of human emotion:

In the beautiful woman,
    The wife
Finds some defect.

And the ones that just nibble at the roots of a Haiku:

at the height
of the argument the old couple
pour each other tea
George Swede.

Whatever it may be, it is to be understood that a Senyru contains a shade of human emotion, in a short number of syllables.


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Dinesh Sairam
Dinesh Sairam

Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu, India

Follow @DineshThePoet An aspiring poet from the shady regions of Southern India. Inspired by the capital-G Great poets like William Shakespeare, Matuso Basho, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Willia..