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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

first calm

after the holidays
familiar strangers
at the bus stop

Shiki Kukai, January 2013. Assigned kigo: "first calm," that is, first of the new year. This "first" business is derived from traditional Japanese haiku and is well grounded in traditional Japanese culture. It has never traveled well, and there is no reason it should. Even in Japan, it's a throwback to the old lunar calendar, according to which the year began on the threshold of spring. Thus, the arrival of the new year was followed almost immediately by the first signs of spring, which were celebrated in poetry.

Around here, January 2 is just another winter day.


Blogger John McDonald said...

and around here too Bill - nice obsevation

1:10 AM  
Blogger Iris said...

Hi Bill
just want to say, I voted for your haiku :) I like this nice astonishment that we can feel calm seeing ... well known starngers :)
Have a good day

1:36 AM  
Blogger Tikkis said...

I think it was quite difficult. But very interesting, anyway!

Thanks for your additional info, too.

growded bus -
some-one still sinking
old carols

1:43 AM  
Blogger Adelaide said...

Hi Bill,

You were one of the few who did not use the phrase "first calm" in the haiku itself, yet you depicted a calm situation wonderfully without it. Life is back to normal after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Even though you don't know these people, it is a comfort to see the same faces.


7:05 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks, John.

Thanks for the visit and the vote, Iris. And for the reading.

I guess you mean "singing," Tikkis, but, if it were my voice, the other passengers might indeed feel a sinking sensation.

Thanks, Adelaide. You've caught exactly what I was going for.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Bouwe Brouwer said...

I read it as after the summer holidays, the people you know, but now with a tan.

There's a beautifull
haiku by Wim Lofvers, one of my favourite Dutch haiku poets:

ferry boat travelers
back from the island
with new faces


10:38 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

As I explained, Bouwe, "first calm" is a New Year's kigo, but one that is not recognized by most western readers. Your reading of my ku works perfectly well. Thanks. And thanks for sharing that haiku.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Magyar said...

Well seen, and my thoughts, Bill, "FAMILiar strangers;" we are all of the same FAMILy, and yet we are still... .

__From -first- to -last-, the
"last icicle."

Calm wishes! _m

6:15 PM  
Blogger Danièle Duteil said...

Very interesting view and rich exchanges too.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks, Doug and Daniele.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Monika said...

Like it !

8:52 AM  
Blogger Tikkis said...


Well, sinking shame now...
But it was not me, it was my stupid keyboard.

My wife says if i twice-tenyears-cycle sing something that she remembers those all 6 times forever.

Perhaps I am not so good singer but sinker.

bla bla...

10:25 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks, Monika.

Think nothing of it, Tikkis. Those keyboards have an uncanny way of knowing when we are tired or distracted.

5:56 PM  

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