Throwing our rocks from the Irish Sea into the North Sea after 200 miles.

“What are the syllables in a haiku,” Peter asked me, somewhere on the walk between Keld and Reeth.  I gave him a fairly lengthy reply, explaining that the 5-7-5 syllable scheme is decidedly Western, as traditional Japanese haiku have 17 on, in the 5-7-5 pattern, but on and syllables are not the same.  (What exactly an on is can be hard to explain.  Wikipedia says it’s a mora and then tries to explain that.)  Traditionally there is a seasonal reference in a haiku, and most critically there is a cutting word, or juxtaposed images, a turn, of some sort, often between the second and third lines.

Several miles later Peter said, “Okay, I have one.”  And he recited a haiku he’d written in his head as he walked.

Dry boots, full bellies
Bad weather route to a pub
Bog only to knee. — Peter

So then I wrote one and recited it to him, and we both recited ours to everyone else, probably backed up at another kissing gate (only one person can go through at a time) or a stile up to an almost impossibly narrow gap in the top half of one of the many, many, many 5 foot stone walls, clamped off by a small, springy wooden gate (only one person can go through at a time).

Up and down the line of the 8 of us walking, we started counting out syllables in our heads or with our fingers or our footfalls, then reciting the haikus we came up with. At one point David said, “We’re writing hike-u’s (and spelled it out). Get it?” We chuckled. When we stopped for lunch at a tea room (the pub wasn’t serving food, and we needed food more than pints), I wrote down what everyone had come up with. Here are a couple more (and more to come).

Boggy boots hosed clean
Hair-dryer miracle dry
Next day happy feet. — Anne

Homemade giant fish fingers
With salad and chips 8.50
Walkers welcome. — Betsy

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