a simple crutch

for this frail

plum treeー

cold rain


5 Responses to “XI”

  1. I like the sound of the verse. The crutch is presumably one of those large wooden stakes with a Y or T at the top for propping branches. There is surely no culture in the world that props things as much as they do in Japan. Crutch is a good word, as often the props come up under the tree’s ‘armpits’ as it were. Cold rain is what plum trees often have to go through around flowering time, so I can see the coloring buds …

  2. John Dougill Says:

    I like the simple anthropomorphic image this conjures up, like an old man struggling against inclement weather. Nice.

  3. I love this haiku. This is a piece drawn from nature — I mean what Shiki Masaoka advocated as ‘shasei’. ‘cold rain’ is a season word, isn’t it? It definitely works as such in this haiku.

    A stake for propping a branch in gardening — I did not realise that it is so uniquely Japanese.

    PS. Stephen, please let me know what is the English word for the ‘shasei’ mentioned above.

  4. Vividly chilly, sere, elegant– a real “wabi” poem.

  5. Thanks all for your comments. I first met the plum tree in the poem about 6 or 7 years ago at our local shrine. It was always a twisted thin tree which produced a sparse selection of tiny blossoms. This year it snapped, apparently revealing its age.

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