home-field in the mud

friday night in march

Linked to Carpe Diem Writing Techniques #10: Back to Basic.  In revisiting the basic “rules” of haiku, our host Chèvrefeuille shares again this classic from Basho:

Furu ike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto

Old pond
frogs jumped in
sound of water

In the original Japanese, Basho follows the rule of 5/7/5 “onji” (sound units).  The literal English translation, however, does not.  But when you try to force the haiku into 5/7/5 syllables in English, it feels “forced”, as in this translation by Eli Siegel:

Pond, there, still and old!
A frog has jumped from the shore.
The splash can be heard

Basho has also followed the next five important “rules” of haiku: 

* kigo (season word – here, “frog” for spring);
* impression or brief moment;
* kireji (“cutting word” – in this poem, it’s the “ya” which splits the poem into the phrase and fragment and also acts as an exclamation);
* interchangeable first / third lines;
* deeper meaning – Basho’s original has that deeper meaning – you need to define that meaning, though.  Siegel’s translation?  Not so much. 

Here are two haiku from Chèvrefeuille which follow the classical rules:

in the house of God
you were the only one –
the song of a skylark


lost in the corn fields
I look at autumn’s sky and listen,
a Skylark’s song

Graphics Fairy

home-field in the mud:
the sound of squelchy sneakers
rising in the night

Friday night in March:
mud, mud, & even more mud
under the floodlights    

Not sure if mine works or not.  I’m calling “mud” a spring kigo; the whole subject implies “spring” though.   And for the record, I don’t like football.  [She said, dodging the flying shoes.]   The second one seems to work better.


18 thoughts on “home-field / Friday night (haiga)

    • Oh yes… track meets, soccer games … our school district is *totally* wrapped up in football though. Has been for decades sadly … at the expense of all else it seems. Hence the bad taste in my mouth about football!

      Still — it was an interesting sensory experience that evening!

      Try to stay dry and out of the mud!!!


  1. I think the first works better We have the season word and can get the atmosphere through the sounds. And thanks so much again for comments on ‘Samurai.’ Got really good ideas – though of course it is no longer my haiku now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hamish! Perhaps I’ll have to let this one sit a few days and reserve judgment for a while. You know how it is — you get so bogged down in it that you start to confuse yourself after a while! (At least I do.) 😛 This is great feedback though — and very much appreciated 🙂

      Your samurai haiku is poised right on the edge, Hamish — least it seems that way to me — you’ll find that right spark and it will be your own again. Hopefully you’re not drowning in advice in the meantime 🙂


  2. Jumping down and clapping … love this take .. I’m sure that Issa would have written something like this if he’d been in our day and age … very earthy and very zen! It has all the right ingredients and yes the deeper meaning too! Bravo!


    • Really? [wiping my brow, relieved] Was thinking they were total duds!
      The second one does have more of an Issa-like feel to it. But the first one has more “mystery” perhaps.
      Thanks Georgia — this means a lot. You know how much I was struggling this evening! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’re getting a bit too seriously Zen these days … but it’s hard not to with these great prompts … and my photos just fall over themselves to be haigaed in the mysterious orient mode … uhm … but today I’m brunt myself … just don’t feel like writing … and it’s nearly 9:00 so I’m off in a bit … I’m going to have to write something goofy to realign myself!


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