Archive for July, 2015

Surrealism at Stillhollow Pond

Posted in Challenge!, Event report, Japanese Modern, Summer with tags on July 31, 2015 by Tito

As luck would have it, this month’s Senri Bunka Centre (Osaka) Eigo de Haiku class fell on the sensei’s birthday, July 23. It had been decided to meet a little early at the secretive jewel that is Nagatani-ike for some LIVE composition. KC4F0026As is the sensei’s wont, he first launched a single birthday  balloon, which fell back quietly to the surface of the pond, coming to rest beneath some bankside trees (click on photo: centre left).
A handout listing a sample of previous birthday balloon launches (from mountain-tops, cliffs, shores, boats, bridges, or as offerings to rocks or trees) was given to each participant. Today’s was no. 46 in the global series, which, incidentally, did not begin when Tito was 1 year old! Poets were then requested to wander around the pond and through the bamboo groves and attempt to capture the wayward object and its slightly surreal interaction with something else. As a pointer to the type of poem required, a 1937 haiku by Yamaguchi Seishi was read out (although his one is absolutely real).

夏の河赤き鉄鎖(てっさ)のはし浸(した)る  (誓子)

….. The summer river –
….. a red iron chain,
….. one end immersed

…………… (Yamaguchi Seishi, trans. JW Carpenter)

When we entered the classroom back at the Centre, some redrafting took place …  and soon we had a nice selection of slightly surreal haiku to write on the whiteboard.  KC4F0014 How much more resonant is a slightly surreal haiku than a totally surreal one! The reader is free to imagine his own story. Here are four of about a dozen haiku composed that evening. Which one do you like best? Please leave a comment to tell us!


….. after summer rain
….. amidst the green, left behind
….. one blue thing

…………… (Takashi)

….. the ripples here
….. from a grebe
….. and there
….. from a curious blue balloon

…………… (Hisashi)

….. commemorative balloon
….. drifting on the pond …
….. golden carp look up

…………… (Senji) 

….. blue sky
….. through breaks in the cloud –
….. a fallen blue balloon

…………… (Mizuho)

medicine buddha mantra

Posted in Haiku with tags , on July 27, 2015 by Ursula Maierl


medicine buddha mantra

in the breeze

incense smoke swirls

Lines and limbs

Posted in Haibun, New Year, Travel on July 14, 2015 by Tito

.  “It is the line, as the custodian of the syllable, that controls the shape of a poem. Vowels expand the line; consonants contract it. … The line is the divining rod that releases the wellspring of poetry” (R. Parthasarathy). Perhaps this is also true of lineation in most English haiku?
.  I’ve just finished reading R.P.’s magnificent English translation of the 5th Century Tamil epic, the Cilappatikaram. On the first day of this year, out on the Coromandel Coast near the mouth of the Kaveri River at Poombukar, I had stumbled on a tiny local museum commemorating this gem of world literature. Thus was my interest in the epic awakened.
.  Epics could not be farther away from haiku in their length and form, and yet, strolling along the seashore afterwards amidst the holiday throng, I found a simple haiku to take away from my encounter with the mythic/erotic/heroic story of Kannaki and Kovalam I’d had that day …

Lithe black limbs flailing
As they dash into the sea …
Waves crash back.