Monthly Archives: December 2015

A FEW SNOWFLAKES

The hokku of Issa is a very mixed bag.  Often it is too emotional, or says too much.  There is, for example, this verse: Snow sparsely falling; A splendid Moonlit night. The problem here — aside from the rather awkward … Continue reading

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A WINTER SOLSTICE WIND

(Winter) The wind rises; Crows fly cawing From tree to tree.   Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!   David

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GREAT YULE: THE ANCIENT AND PRESENT HOLIDAY

In only a few days, it will be Great Yule, the Winter Solstice.  This is the ancient holiday celebrating the rebirth of the sun when the winter night is longest.  It is a time of dark and cold, a time … Continue reading

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MAKING HOKKU FROM A FROZEN SLOUGH

Today a reader (Christine from Tree Top Haiku) sent me a verse, and kindly gave me permission to use it in explaining the difference between English-language hokku and “haiku.” There is so much variation in modern haiku that one generally … Continue reading

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WITHERED LOTUSES: A WINTER HOKKU BY BUSON

Today it is grey and cold and raining where I am, so this slight variation on a winter hokku by Buson seems appropriate.  I can omit the seasonal heading because it is in the verse itself: Lotuses withered,The pond is … Continue reading

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WHAT IS THE SOUND OF ONE DOG SLEEPING?

I have mentioned before that in old Japanese hokku there is a term for staying shut up indoors during cold winter days.  It is fuyugomori, which R. H. Blyth translates as “winter seclusion.”  Yet Westerners may fail to grasp what … Continue reading

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NO HARM IN TRYING: HOUSMAN’S TWICE A WEEK THE WINTER THOROUGH

Those familiar with Alfred Edward Housman will know that a “sports” poem by him is not going to be simply a sports poem.  That is certainly the case with today’s example, which is poem XVII (#17) in his collection A … Continue reading

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