A hokku by Chora:
Rising from the grasses —
We could also present it like this:
From the windblown grasses —
Notice what a strong sensory impression is made by this hokku: we feel the strong wind, hear the loud rustling of the dark grasses in wild movement, and rising very slowly out of them is the silent moon of autumn. This interplay between the blowing grasses and the moon exemplifies the hokku technique called “harmony of contrast.” It is the placing of two contrasting elements together in a verse that when joined, paradoxically give us as sense of unity and harmony. On the one hand we have darkness and violent movement and sound, and on the other stillness and brightness.
Here is the original in transliteration:
Arashi fuku kusa no naka yori kyō no tsuki
Tempest blows grass ‘s midst out-of today ‘s moon
And now a question to regular readers here. I would like to know how many of you actually write hokku in English — not haiku, but the kind of hokku I present here. From time to time I think about reviving a kind of online interactive hokku class. Of course one could learn hokku from all the information I give on this site, but often people need interaction with a teacher and correction of errors to write it successfully. So if you are learning to write hokku as I present it here, send me a message and let me know. To do that, just click on the “Leave a Comment” link at the end of this posting. I will keep all messages responding to this question private.