WHERE ONCE …

For years on this site, I have explained hokku in terms of their basic aesthetics.  I wonder how many of you can do so at this point.  So here is a question:  what qualities or characteristics of hokku do you find, or not find, in this verse?  What do you feel — or not feel — on reading it?  If you would like to answer, or to say anything else about this hokku, just leave a comment.

(Spring)

In withered weeds
Where once a house stood —
Blooming daffodils.

 

David

7 thoughts on “WHERE ONCE …

  1. Ashley

    Daffodils appear to be the only survivors in what appears to have been the garden of a ruined house. Now, the daffodils are the only indication of human activity. Human endeavours fade and become overgrown with weeds whilst the natural world continues to evolve.
    The verse gives an insight into our brief lives.

  2. I see a phrase and a sentence, but I don’t see the need for that dash after the second line. I never use caps, but that’s just me. Love the picture. Old gardens fascinate me. A lot of room for feeling in this haiku.

    REPLY:
    Well, of course this verse is hokku, not haiku, which has often very different standards of form and content. It is important not to confuse the two, as I always emphasize.

    David

  3. It has the hokku form with a long part of two lines, separated from the short part of one line, the first letter of each line is capitalized; the subject matter includes Nature and the place of humans within Nature. Each verse is set in the context of a season, daffodils blooming in the spring. It’s selfless, focusing on the experience and not the writer, with an awareness of yin (decay of weeds and house structure) and yang (daffodils blooming). It uses simple, ordinary words with as few as possible (poverty of words, few essential words) and has boundaries…avoids mind disturbing subjects (sex, violence). “Where once a house stood” gives me a deep sense of transience…the idea that all things must pass with time (a home, garden, the lives of the family), with new growth to follow (daffodil flowers). The weeds have already grown and withered. The only change I would make is to drop the word “blooming,” because when you say “daffodils” most people see a living plant with flowers; they don’t see the leaves alone or a dying plant. This shortens the verse without changing it…maintaining poverty and simplicity.

  4. I think it’s a lovely verse. The contrast of that which is dead, and that which is gone forever, with that which is alive and continues perpetually. And the necessary seasonal aspect seen in the “blooming daffodils.”

  5. Altogether the haiku [sic; it is a hokku, not haiku] expresses the happy/sad feeling of time passing, the season clear by the withered weeds and daffodils. I have stood there: amid the ruin, digging up daffodils that I replanted in my own garden. But I can’t see the house – because it is not there. The middle line is looking backward, imagining the past instead of in the present. “Where once a house stood” does not describe the scene – it is only in the writer’s imagination. I would want to see that changed to the reality of the scene: a caved-in cellar hole, overgrown foundation, lone crumbling chimney… the granite stoop leading to nothing.

  6. David C Brown

    Great joke! An iambic pentameter, split over two lines, sonorously sets us up for a sonnet or some other subject suitable for heroic verse; then pops the balloon of pretentiousness with – bloomin’ daffodils! Hilarious.

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