returning pigeons –
on the third circle
Linked to Carpe Diem Writing Techniques #8: Karumi.
First of all, a note on these posts. Quite often I condense and share what our host Chèvrefeuille has taught us – but – you really ought to read his original posts. Today’s post was one of his best ever.
Sounds weird, but I learn these “concepts” through my fingers. If I can “write it up” (either by pen or by keyboard), what Chèvrefeuille says is more likely to find a home in my brain. So I type – and share.
Karumi (“lightness”) is a “sensation of spontaneity” as if “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. It has a sense of “light humor or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world”. It isn’t as much a technique as it is a frame of mind and heart based on a lifestyle in which you “live haiku”.
In Chèvrefeuille’s words:
“I think karumi can only be the concept for your haiku when you are not only a haiku poet, but also living haiku … Living haiku is being one with the world around you including nature and enjoying the emptiness, loneliness and oneness of being part of nature as a human. A haiku poet (in my opinion) lives with nature, adores nature, praises nature and respects nature.”
So. Embrace that lifestyle!
Karumi and the Mundane
Our host shares that
“…traditionally, and especially in Edo Japan, women did not have the male privilege of expanding their horizons, so their truth or spirituality was often found in the mundane. Women tend to validate daily life and recognize that miracles exist within the mundane, which is the core of haiku. There were females who did compose haiku, which were called “kitchen-haiku” by literati, but these “kitchen-haiku” had all the simplicity and lightness of karumi … In a way Bashô taught males to write like females, with more elegance and beauty, based on the mundane (simple) life of that time.”
Ugh! Literati! Sadly, my haiku-hero Issa may have been one of them. But I digress.
The Object vs. the Self
Chèvrefeuille tells us that the poet should “detach the mind from his own self” – and “enter into the object, perceive its delicate life, and feel its feeling, whereupon a poem forms itself.” Furthermore, the object and the self remain separate.
“In my view a good poem is one in which the form of the verse, and the joining of its two parts, seem light as a shallow river flowing over its sandy bed”. – Bashô
Here are the haiku Chèvrefeuille shared with us, all of which demonstrate karumi:
Underneath the trees,
Soups and salads are buried
In cherry blossoms.
A spring warbler casts
A dropping on the rice cakes —
The veranda edge…
I look holding it straight
no dust at all
I wash my feet with dew
the longest day
just one leaf
struggles with the wind
Isn’t that awesome?
slowly a snail seeks
his path between Cherry blossoms
reaches for the sky
lost in the woods around Edo –
just the autumn wind
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with haiku techniques and terminology. Several people have left comments saying, “I could never write haiku”. Yes you can. As you can see, I like to chitter-chatter-jibber-jabber on and on and on. If I can write haiku, you most definitely can write haiku.
Just – no matter what – never lose your sense of humor.