Autumn glory

I recently made a trip to Shirakawa-go in the Gifu mountains, which is a World Heritage Site for the ‘gassho-zukuri’ (prayer-hands) housing and the traditional way of life carried out in them, fostered by long months of isolation during the heavy snowfalls of winter. Yet even more impressive than the human heritage was the natural display put on by the thickly forested hills surrounding the settlements. I had the feeling that culture was here trumped by nature….

Mountain folds
Like patterned kimono
In yellows, reds and browns

Carpet of deeply dappled hues:
First snow glistening

On autumn slopes
White wisps dissolving –
Our journey’s end

4 Responses to “Autumn glory”

  1. This must be a lovely place. I enjoyed reading about your trip.
    I am wondering about your use of a simile in the first haiku. Perhaps a different wording so that the comparison would not be so explicit would be more in keeping with traditional haiku. I know modern haiku in Japan has evolved considerably since Basho, but this simile seems too obvious.


  2. I read your haiku and get nice full images of what I guess you must have seen. But in addition to less explicitness being a good thing, perhaps less syllables would be too. It generally takes more syllables to say things in Japanese than English, giving English haiku an added duty(?) to be brief. E.g., the last wistfully beautiful one could have gone: “Wisps fade/On autumn slopes/The journey’s end” and been just as effective.

  3. Won’t get drawn into the ‘short is beautiful’ argument, but it could well be that your poems have been ‘trumped’ by your photographs this time? Grateful for both. And where next?

  4. I like the sequential relationship between the third poem when matched with the third photo. From the mountains, to that shovel… brilliant !

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