Three Masterful Haiku by online Hakuists

[If you came to this post looking for more general information on Haiku, take a look my post on Haiku called What is: Haiku. If you’re looking for Haiku on certain themes, try the Categories Widget at right or use the search feature.]

I have a renewed interest in Haiku. Their brevity and compression helps me express ideas and observations that I don’tt have time to work out in longer poems – though I do continue to work on longer poems. As part of my renewed interest I’ve been visiting and enjoying different Haiku blogs. My favorites are the bloggers who try to write at least one Haiku a day and I have found two that I like very much.

I was inspired to reprint their Haiku here because their Haiku are powerful and deserve to be read by more readers.

The first is Crows & Daisies, a blog by Polona Oblak. Stricktly speaking, she writes Haiga.

The following is her November 25th contribution:

//crowsndaisies.blogspot.com/ for the original.

The compression and evocative power of the Haiku is perfectly illustrated by Oblak. The sum of her three lines far exceeds their content in that the reader is compelled not just to imagine the  bird’s tracks in the snow, but also the bird and its startled leap into the air. That she evokes this imagery without its description demonstrates a certain mastery of the form – an intuitive grasp of the Haiku’s unique potential. A poet with less experience might have written something like:

prints end
in the snowy path – startled
bird

This haiku essentially conveys the same information but undermines some of the Haiku’s very strengths. The art of great haiku is in the form’s capacity to create an image and narrative that transcend the poem’s size. The great Haiku is like the pebble sending ripples deeply across the waters of the reader’s mind. Polona’s Haiku accomplishes just that.

woman’s desire
deeply rooted —
the wild violets

Chiyo-ni – Chiyo-ni Woman Haiku Master

Another strong Hakuist can be found at the blog: haiku notebook by w.f. owen. Owen adopts a one line approach which is keeping with Japanese Haiku. (The Japanese Haiku is written with cutting words, which translators have interpreted as line breaks.)

Owen’s November 25th contribution:

W.F. Owen - Flawless Persimmon

W.F. Owen – Flawless Persimmon

The compression in the Haiku is powerfully effective. The ambiguity of the poem’s meaning lends it meaning beyond what’s stated. Owen could have written: “the persimmon has a seed”. But he chose to describe the persimmon as flawless.  Then the reader might ask: Is the persimmon flawless because it contains a seed? – or is Owen expressing surprise that the “flawless persimmon” has been flawed by the seed? In this ambiguity we find what is, perhaps, one of the most profound Haiku I have read online. By flawless we usually think of beauty and perfection. But while life grants beauty and perfection, such flawlessness is momentary – an ephemeral dream.

But would the persimmon have been perfect if it had had no seed? The poet’s surprise, if one wishes to interpret it as that, is also an acknowledgment. The persimmon, or life, is made both perfect and imperfect by the seed. The seed is an acknowledgment of both the persimmon’s imperfection, that it must age and be flawed, but also its paradoxical perfection, that in order to be perfect, it must carry a seed inside – and that from this seed will spring renewed flawlessness. From this paradoxical heart is the heart of a great Haiku. From imperfection comes perfection – from the flaw comes flawlessness. There could be no life without it. The pithiness of the Haiku is aphoristic and, in my house, will become an aphorism.

Owen followed this Haiku by another November 26th.

W.F. Owen - Rustling Leaves

W.F. Owen – Rustling Leaves

While this Haiku may not attain the transcendent ambiguity and meaning of its predecessor, qualities that distinguish the Haiku from longer verse forms, there is nonetheless an evocative eeriness that is powerful and worth enjoying.

The “rustling leaves” tells us that the poem is written in Autumn. It tells us that there must be a strong breeze or wind, enough to stir leaves, and that the wind must be cold. The poet pulls up the covers. But the power of an image like this, not extenuated, is in guessing that one can pull up the covers not just for warmth, but out of fear – and that is what lends this Haiku its own eery power and resonance. Maybe the leaves aren’t rustling because of the wind? Could it be something else? Autumn is the season of endings and death – and nothing so reminds us of our temporary lives than the fall of leaves. Why does the poet pull up the covers? We are left wondering. We are left knowing that theleaves, themselves, are like a cover, readying the earth for a long sleep.

Our humanity is a common bond that is not separated by time. A hundred years before, a woman wrote:

sleeping alone
awakened
by the frosty night…

– Chiyo-ni – From Chiyo-ni Woman Haiku Master

5 responses

  1. now i’m lost for words :)
    thank you for a wonderful interpretation of my haiku/haiga.

    i also like owen’s one-liners. they are seemingly simple but say much more than meets the eye.

  2. i dont kno the exact rules of writing haiku but i have written a couple of them in by blog…since i didnt attract many comments i feel it isnt the right way to do it..but i love haiku’s..and yeah great articel
    -narendra

  3. I enjoyed this entry very much. I found it by googling W. F. Owen. I also have a renewed interest in Haiku. I’d love it if you’d do me the honor of visiting two of my blogs. One is my laboratory: it has all sorts of things on it that help me to keep close to my creative life. I made it a goal to write at least 200 Haiku between Oct. 2008-09 and I’ve surpassed the goal, although many of them are mere stabs at saying something: http://theresawilliams-author.blogspot.com/

    The other is The Letter Project. I’m looking for writers interested in writing letters, old fashioned or in combination with art: http://theletterproject.wordpress.com/

  4. Hi Patrick, thanks so much for stopping by my blogspot. After more than 200 Haiku I believe I might be on the verge of discovering how to write them. I write in a spirit of comradship primarily. I really like the way you have set up your blog here. My blogspot, as I said, is really a laboratory. It’s messy, very disorganized. I used to not share any of my writing online; I horded it like a dragon hordes gold, but after reading Nanao on Issa I got the courage to share them. I can see from your blog that you are a person who loves form and a sense of order. Anyway, I’ve got you on my favorites and I plan to investigate your blog further. Thanks many times for the good work you’re doing here. I am always so inspired when I find a blog like this one.

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