A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Friday, March 11, 2011

after: 17

plum blossoms
red! red!
. . . red!

Izen ?-1710

A poem about being rendered inarticulate in his excitement at a natural phenomenon. What's got him so excited? Perhaps these will help to explain:

plum trees flowering
around the countryside
the only sign of spring

Rito 1680-1754

in nooks and crannies
you can still feel the cold –
plum blossoms

Buson 1716-1784

spreading my mat in the field
I contemplate
plum blossoms


raising my head
to contemplate the vast sky –
the scent of plum blossoms

Soin 1604-1682

for the one whose hand
breaks off a branch
the scent of plum blossoms

Chiyo-ni 1701-1775

after breaking off
a flowering branch –
no more hiccups!

Issa 1763-1827

someone is blowing
his nose with his fingers –
plum blossoms

Basho 1644-1694

The "after" posted Dec. 30, 2010 may cast further light on the issue.

For an explanation of "afters," see the post for Nov. 2, 2010


Anonymous Monika said...

Interesting, Bill. I appreciate the citation of the other plum blossom haiku which make us more aware of all those references Japanese haiku poets had in mind when they "simply" mentioned plum blossoms. Thus we understand a little better the function of the kigo which goes farbeyond the plain evocation of a seasonal element. It carries a whole cultural context, often difficult to apprehend for us.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Yes, Monika, we sometimes define kigo as season word or seasonal reference, but in classical Japanese haiku, as you've discerned, there's much more to kigo than that. I'm not sure we have, or can have, kigo in international haiku, although the seasonal theme still plays a significant role.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Gillena Cox said...

the cloth monkey
in high spirits...
plum blossoms

much love

4:25 AM  
Blogger Devika said...

Good collection, Bill...and some new names of poets to me for further search and reading...Rito, Soin, Chiyo ni - thank you for that :)


12:10 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

That's a good one, Gillena. Thanks.

I've been reading a lot in the classics lately, Devika. Do you have Blyth's books?

6:54 PM  
Blogger Devika said...

No i don't Bill...may be i'll get the volume...most of my haiku readings are only online :)


7:57 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent selection there and as previous comments have said it sheds light on the kigo

12:13 PM  
Blogger Tikkis said...

Thanks for this set!

10:59 PM  

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