HOT THINGS

Today is another unusually hot day, so here is an appropriate old hokku by Buson:

Spider webs
Are hot things;
The summer grove.

Entering a grove of old trees on a hot day, we expect to find some relief from the heat.  Instead we discover that among the old trees not a breath of fresh air stirs; and in our passing, a spider web catches us on the face making the heat seem even more pervasive and heavy.  Looking around we see other webs among the branches here and there,  and realize that

Spider webs
Are hot things;
The summer grove.

In some other time, some other place, one might find them quite different.  That is how attuned to season and weather hokku is.

This verse is the type known as a “statement” hokku — a verse in which a simple statement of (perceived) fact is made, without additional comment or explanation.  If one pays attention to these different types of hokku and their patterns, one quickly learns how good hokku are constructed and written.

David

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