Devotional poetry is as old as the Psalms. The discipline of using words in a precise way to praise God can be an intensely meaningful act of worship.
Now a Cottage Grove man has taken an obscure poetic discipline not typically known for its devotional nature and created something different. It’s published in a new book called Christian Haiku, the 17-syllable devotional.
The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia defines haiku as an “unrhymed Japanese poetic form. It consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively. The form expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words.”
When Clark Osborn’s son Josh brought home from school a haiku assignment, Clark was intrigued to start creating some of his own. “I’ve always been a wordsmith at heart and for me, haiku is much more ‘wordsmithing’ than poetry,” he explained.
Being a sports fan, and in recognition of crazy things that were happening in sports, Clark created a couple of websites: FavreHaiku.com and BadgerHaiku.com. On a whim he checked to see if the ChristianHaiku.com address was available. “It was, so I bought it and after awhile, I started writing and posting Christian Haikus as well,” he said.
Eventually he felt God leading him to focus on Christian haikus and let the sports stuff go. Then it became apparent he had the makings of a book.
The book has 122 pages of haiku, one per page, along with a photo and relevant scripture passages, under a topical headline. Under Perspective, for instance, the haiku is:
I see my failures
The me I’m going to be
That is who God sees
The accompanying verses come from Philippians 1:6, Jeremiah 29:11, and Micah 7:18-19.
Another haiku is titled Reflection:
It’s not fair to God
To say he doesn’t exist
Due to flawed Christians.
It’s not exactly Our Daily Bread, but the entries are thoughtful and often conclude with the zingers that characterize haiku. If you spend some time reflecting on each one, it can be a meaningful devotional. Rather than reflecting the Psalms, the book more closely resembles Proverbs or maybe even Ecclesiastes.
Clark reported the reaction to the book has been overwhelmingly positive. Publishing his own book was a little more complicated and a little less expensive than he expected. And, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the person who has everything, they probably don’t have a copy of Christian Haiku, the 17-syllable devotional.