Some eleven years ago I mentioned here this spring hokku by Chora:

The sound of petals falling
Through the trees.

It is very appropriate for the ending of the season of spring blossoming trees such as the cherry.

Notice that even though Chora gives us the setting of the poem — stillness — he nonetheless mentions sound. That is because if is only in such stillness that the faint sound of the falling petals can be heard, which emphasizes the stillness even more. And of course what acute hearing one must have — something that often disappears as we age.

From the point of view of contemporary hokku, this is a daoku — a hokku that just presents a sensory experience of Nature and the place of humans within and as a part of Nature. A daoku is a hokku without any added commentary or interpretation or intellectualization by the writer. In such a verse the writer is like a mirror reflecting the experience to the reader, so that the reader may have it too. To do that, the writer must get out of the way, and just let Nature speak. That makes daoku a very egoless kind of hokku, which gives it a very pure and direct feeling.

This is also a verse using the common and very helpful setting/subject/action form, which is useful not only for beginners in writing hokku in English, but also for experienced writers.

Setting: Stillness
Subject: The sound of petals
Action: Falling through the trees


2 thoughts on “FALLING PETALS

  1. So beautiful! One of my favorite things to do is to go as far as I can into the forest and just sit there and listen. It’s a magical part of the day for me. Thanks for sharing your translated daoku with us, David. It’s much appreciated.

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