Thursday, April 28, 2016

Haiku A to Z: X is for Xenia

photo courtesy pixabay
"Xenia (Greek: xenia, translated 'guest-friendship') is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship. In Latin it means 'gifts.'" --wikipedia

Well, this might be a stretch (with a nod to those friends who questioned how I would handle the letter -x- in relation to haiku)  since there are no references I can find connecting my challenge theme to the concept of xenia, but I will go out on a limb and make that connection.* I suggest that we blend a bit of the Japanese tradition of writing haiku to the Greek concept of hospitality. Haiku can easily offer up a genial [(adj) smiling, friendly, cheerful, kindly], xenial [(adj.) having to do with hospitality] approach to the craft.

For example, haiku's xenia welcomes and invites the reader to an image, a moment, often a calmness, or even good conversation. Haiku, though not generous with words, is generous in spirit. Haiku opens a xenial door and promotes a feeling of wanting to return and is its own version of a personal gift. My vote is for xenial haiku!

On another note, there is a town just fifty miles up the road from where I live. It's name? Xenia. On April 3, 1974, an F-5 tornado tore through the heart of the town, killing 32 people and heavily damaging or destroying over 1200 homes. I remember the night vividly. Though not hit by a tornado ourselves, the night was frightening enough--black skies, high winds, torrential rains, hailstones the size of golf balls. I was in the house alone at the time and our baby was only two months old. Memories stirring, I offer day twenty-four haiku:

Xenia, Ohio...
maniac cloud silences
--Kenda Turner

*A few days after posting this, I did find a quote that makes a connection to haiku and hospitality! Speaking on the subject of objectivity in haiku, Michael Dylan Welch (here) writes, "Thus, it's helpful for us to draw back, to be aware of when 'we' (the self, the ego) intrude too much in our poetic descriptions. It's a sort of poetic graciousness (emphasis mine), where the poet is a good host for the reader's emotional reactions, enabling them to flower where they will."


  1. I remember that day, too. It was horrific.

    I like the Xenia reference. Having looked up words starting with X, I think it's an inspired choice! :-)

  2. Peggy, it was a scary day wasn't it? Some memories do remain pretty vivid even after all these years. And glad you liked today's theme...had to think hard on this one!