A hokku by Kitō Takai (1741-89) a student of Buson:

Kuren to su haru no kurui ya arare furu

Dusk is-becoming spring’s madness ya hail falls

As twilight comes,
Spring’s madness —
Falling hail.

It is a rather obvious verse, expressing the inconstant, unpredictable nature of early spring weather. It is not one of the better hokku, because the writer’s comment “spring’s madness” is an interpretation. It is preferable in hokku to just present an event, rather than commenting on or interpreting it. We call such added comments and interpretations “thinking,” and it is best avoided in hokku.

4 thoughts on “SPRING HAIL

  1. artladyiam

    It is always great to hear your interpretation and knowledge of Hokku. I hope all is well with you. Hope the weather is warmer where your are than here where I am in Michigan. May Spring come soon for all of us.

  2. Brother Nicholas Ob OSB

    Greetings David,

    Thanks so much! It may not be “one of the better hokku” but is really quite nice!


    Bob (Brother Nicholas OblOSB)


  3. Thomas

    Reading your posts is always enlightening. Today, I really have some time to do it:

    Watching my students
    brooding over exam questions
    spring is at the door

    Cheers, Thomas

  4. To make this a better hokku we should not use a “thinking” word like “madness.”
    If you were to write this, what word would you have used instead of “madness?” In other words, what word would make this a “better” hokku? Perhaps “fluctuations?”

    A bigger change, like “Erratic spring” would work.


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