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
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
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.