Experimental Space – English Haiku Poems 響き合いF, Kyoto

このスペースは響合いフォーラム「English Haiku Poems」の講座の皆様の場です。御自分の英語ハイクや川柳や短歌などで、訂正を要するかこのままでOKか、面白いかそうでないか、こんなのはどうか(野心作?)、などの意見を聞きたいとき、下の「Leave a Reply boxの中にそのpoemと趣旨(必ずしも必須ではありません)を書いて(入力して)、「Post Comment」のボタンをクリックしてください。それについてコメントされる方は、「Leave a reply」ではなくて小さいオレンジ色の 「Reply という欄に書き入れて「post」をクリックすれば、対話のようにちょっと右ずれで現れます。どなたでも気軽にご意見をお願いします。講座に参加されていない方のコメント大歓迎です。Poem作者の参考に致したく、活発な御意見交換を希望しています。

This page is designed primarily for the members of the regular Hailstone ‘English Haiku Poems’ class held at Friend Peace House in Kyoto. They may post works in progress and ask for comments/suggestions. Anyone is free to reply to them by writing their comment through the orange word Reply  beneath the poem (or the comment) you wish to remark on. Your comment will then appear slightly to the right, as if in conversation. Try to use the beige Leave a Reply box only for the posting of new experimental works.

111 Responses to “Experimental Space – English Haiku Poems 響き合いF, Kyoto”

  1. At a village in Miyagi four months after the Great Quake and Tsunami…

    Who planted them?

    Morning glories now at their best

    In the evacuation grounds.

    • there appears to be an interesting contrast emerging between line two and three.

      is the word “now” in line 2 needed? and, is the first line necessary?

    • I’m sure Toshi will have his own say later. The question in the 1st line makes me think, “Maybe they were planted by someone who is no longer here!” If Toshi hadn’t mentioned this thought, few readers would make the mental leap in that ominous direction. Perhaps I am wrong with my reading. If right, though, I should add that ominous haiku are very rare, and I believe this one works well. Thanks both to Toshi for the haiku and to Gerald for the comment below. Everyone, try and post comments using the orange reply link immediately beneath the haiku you want to comment on. 響き合いの皆さん、Toshiさんの句はどう思われますか。

      • Thanks, Gerald and Stephen. I’ve learned a lot from you both. No, the first line is not clear at all!

        What I wanted to suggest by the first line is the voluntary suppoeters who went to the rescue of the victims in the initial fase of the disaster. Sowing the seeds of morning glories was one of their operations. Though the activity seemed of little help to the evacuated people then, four months later it turned out to be a great help to those ever-distressed people, encouraging them by their brave full bloom.

        So, I tried to make it clearer.

        In the evacuation grounds
        Morning glories at their best —
        Volunteers sowed them.

        I look forward to your further help!

  2. Hi Toshi, i like your original 2nd and 3rd line:

    Morning glories at their best
    In the evacuation grounds

    This phrase presents a wonderful contrasting image; Morning glories/evacuation ground.

    In addition, the expression “at their best” made me think that the writer either has some personal knowledge of these particular flowers, or that he really knows about the nature of morning glories. For the expression “evacuation ground” I think it’s not important I know what type of evacuation ground, or “zone” it is. Therefore, I can imagine several reasons for one.

    My only curiosity was whether the first line was too much of a verbal sentiment, and whether there was a way to incorporate that sentiment into an image? Sorry I wasn’t clear about my thoughts on this point.

    • Thank you again, Gerald. I am beginning to understand what you mean. So, folloiwing your suggestion, I made it simpler.

      Morning glories / at their best — / the evacuation grounds.

      • Toshi, You have made the haiku very spare and very potent.
        The contrast between the GLORY of the morning glories,
        and the sense of emptiness of evacuation grounds ( and
        disaster producing them) gives the sense of a ghost town – tho
        the poet clearly was present. Nonetheless… very poignant.

  3. 玉あられ 向こうの空は 青いまま
    :TAMAARARE/MUKOUNO SORA HA /AOI MAMA:
    Hailstones! The sky in the distance, still remain as blue”

    • I wondered why the English last line wasn’t “still remains blue”, which would be more normal. Thanks for this hailstone verse. In Japanese, there is also ARARE and HYOU, but TAMA-ARARE gives a nice, rounded, jewel-like image. Did you experience this today or only in your imagination?

  4. stopping —

    .. at the traffic lights

    autumn mountains

    • The haiku seems poised to set up a dilemma: do the autumn mountains end nearby this intersection (a possibility in steep-sided Kyoto), or does the poet (probably walking and not driving – but you never know) stop there? I am rather baffled by the punctuation. Perhaps other readers can suggest how to ‘read’ the poem before the author fills us in with his intentions?

      • 信号に 停まりて見れば 山は秋

        SINGO NI TOMARITE MIREBA   YAMA WA AKI

      • Thanks for your comment , Stephen.
        Never thought of your first reading though.
        The japanese translation shows my intentions clearer.
        i thought that the changing colours of traffic lights from green to red mirror or suggest the autumn colours changing.
        i was in a car stopping at the traffic lights and noticed autumn mountains.my gaze moved from the red light to the mountains.
        Lots of interesting things happen i think when we stop the traffic of our thoughts and movement and look at nature.

    • I love this haiku.
      Yes, we have to ‘stop’ from time to time so that we can keep in touch with nature. ‘The traffic lights’ symbolises the hectic daily life, while ‘autumn mountains’ suggests us that the author turns his thoughts inward, that is, away from the daily life.
      The primary haiku-puase (kire) is between the 2nd and 3rd lines, isn’t it?

  5. first snow
    on the river
    seagulls

    • Wow, that’s early snow, over where you live, Jiko! Presumably, a haiku from last year? The fact that seagulls appear inland at the time when the Japan Sea turns rough in early winter makes Kyoto seagulls almost a kigo (season word) in itself. The poem may not have been composed in Kyoto, though.
      As G. has already mentioned (below), what is stressed in the poem depends on whether the reader ‘sees’ the main break as coming at the end of the 1st or 2nd line. Yes, a ‘pivot line’ indeed.
      If comments on poems in this section could be made by clicking the reply tab under the poem itself, rather than starting a new stream, it would help the comprehensibility and integrity of the page. Only the haiku posted here are meant to be flush with the left margin. Discussion follows to the right beneath.

  6. nice use of the phrase in line 2 to work as a pivot between the two images. I’ll let others speak in detail about some of the aesthetics of this poem (which I happen to like).

  7. fallen leaves —
    not raking
    the gravel garden

    • In order to make this page work better, it would be good if authors could respond to the comments their haiku have received and perhaps confine themselves to posting just one haiku per month here. For a while after a new haiku has been posted, other poets will probably refrain from posting. このページをより効果的にするにはコメントをもらえばそのコメントについて返事を書けばありがたいです。また、同じ方が月一回程度俳句をのせればよいではないでしょうか。俳句をpostしてからしばらくほかの方が俳句をpostするのを遠慮するでしょう。やはり一人月一回でしょう。
      That being said, Jiko’s new haiku above is, to me, a good, easy-to-understand haiku, about which it is difficult to say more! How nice to have the choice of raking or not raking a gravel garden.

    • A true Zen monk leaves the garden unraked.

  8. お正月明けましておめでとうございます

    こうさぎの白き尾を見せ逃げにけり

    a baby rabbit
    runs away ..
    showing it’s white tail

    • A wonderfully simple poem, with simple language to convey the smallness of the images. From “a baby rabbit” to the disappearing of its “white tail”. In addition, for me, this poem offers a certain cuteness, fear, and humor in the language used in the last line.

  9. steam rising
    from an iron kettle –
    the crackle of charcoal

        steam rising 
           from an iron kettle –
    the sound of cracklin’ charcoal

    茶釜から
    湯気が立っている
    炭の音

    • For me ‘the sound of’ in the second version is definitely superfluous, but I like the contraction of the ‘ing’ as it is drier and more in harmony with the actual sound.

    • The crackling charcoal (sound/visual) and steam rising (visual/ posssible sound?) presents an interesting effect when combined as you have done. Have you thought about a one liner for the first poem? Perhaps beginning with the third line?

      • crackle! crack! .. steam bursts .. from an iron pot

        how about this version ,Gerald –
        now more ambiguous – what is making the sound .. charcoal or pot’s lid?

      • Lawrence, at first I thought to play around with something like:

        the crackle of charcoal… steam rising from an iron kettle

        But now, a day later, I think the sequence of images in the first poem has a nicer sense of a relationship between humans and nature. A nicer atmosphere.

  10. smoke-stained walls –
    in the dim half-light ..
    white camellia

    • I enjoyed the image of a white camellia glimpsed in the half-light, but the smoke-stained walls did not gel. My mind cannot decide where you are… and it does matter.

  11. light snowfall –
    the crackle of charcoal embers
    in the tea room

    淡雪や 残り火かすか 薄茶席

  12. spring snow –
    for a moment it whitens ..
    the pale pink buds

    • This has a nice cadence, but I feel the punctuation may be redundant at the end of the second line. More importantly though, as snow inevitably does whiten anything it falls on, I find the poetic point slight, almost too delicate: merely an observation of the changing season? In saying this, I am opening the stage so that someone can disagree with me……

      • I too feel the suggestion of the changing of the seasons. I also sense a final battle perhaps, between two forces of nature, as the snow melts quickly and gives way to the new growth. I think this scene; “… snow/ for a moment whitens/ the pale pink buds”, presents two colorful and fragile images, as well as confirming a final transition into spring. In addition to eliminating the punctuation at the end of line 2, I think the word “spring” in line 1 may be redundant (the “buds” suggest that spring is near). Perhaps something like “morning snowー” or “snowfall”, or ____ , could be used?

  13. on the surface of the pond
    they are mirrored ..
    double-flowered cherry trees

    • ‘surface’ may be implied without mentioning it, but its ‘f’ sound helps to build the poem’s melody and prefigures ‘double-flowered’. This is a beautiful image and would have been spoilt by including a photo of the same thing. It is a self-contained word-picture. Also, it is a poetic spell!

    • on the surface of the pond: up now on the top page.

  14. ljikob Says:

    over Uji river –
          the wisteria spray also ..
             a fragrance of roasted tea

    宇治川や
    藤花房も
    茶の匂い

    • Uji is at its best in spring – the surging river, new green leaves, the flowering wisteria (espec. the one at Byodo-in), the first flush of tender tea leaves being picked. Somehow your haiku has it all, and yet doesn’t quite hang together, mainly because of the use of ‘also’. Presumably it means ‘and also’. Another problem is melding the highly fragrant wisteria with the scent of roasted tea. It needs a tweak. Perhaps someone else can suggest a revision?

      • Yes, the melding appears to be quite a challenge if that’s what ljkob wants to do. Or is there a conflict going on? If it’s the former, perhaps “spray”, “fragrance”, and “roasted”, might be too much to digest in two short lines? Furthermore, I believe Uji is known in Japan as a tea growing area. With this in mind, perhaps the “tea” line might be more useful before the “wisteria” line. My 2 cents (which is much less than 2 yen these days):

        over Uji riverー
        the fragrance of roasted tea;
        and wisteria

        back & forth
        across the Uji river
        the scent of tea
        the scent of wisteria

      • Thanks S & G for the comments – much appreciated-

        ” lilac- blossoms –
        in Uji ..
        a scent of roasted tea”

        I feel this works better – ?

  15. “cloud-covered night
    at the observatory –
    stunned by the flitter of fireflies”

    • Thanks for sharing this, Jiko. I feel the experience vividly. Might I suggest the dropping of ‘the flitter of’?

  16. at the same moment
    I light a cigarette ..
    a lighting strike !

  17. Certainly this is a haiku moment worth recording! I enjoyed the typo, as it conveyed a power cut, but realized it was lightning that you meant. I find your new truncation of the ‘g’ troubling. The right word correctly typed will suffice. Perhaps others may find satisfying nuances in your abbreviation.

    • midsummer …

      dropping a bucket

      into a deep well

      • Very good, Jiko. Would like to use this in the next Inbox post on the top page!
        Your Kiyotaki River (cap. R, please) one below is almost classical in feel. Someone may disagree with me, but it could have been written by any of the masters! Mild personification, such as ‘drowning’, is one of the poet’s most useful techniques, even in haiku.

  18. drowning the cicada’s song
    the swift currents of
    the Kiyotaki river

  19. thanks for the comment Tito-san – please post elsewhere . so glad that you enjoyed it – you introduced me to the Kiyotaki River last year – it is wonderful on a hot day & i went there yesterday to cool off.

  20. “misty mountains –

    mirrored in a lake …

    bitten by midges”

    • Familiar territory for me. Scotland? The dash is, I feel, unwarranted by syntax. As a gen. rule, one break only in a haiku. The real break is after ‘lake’. Nice image contrast, and so true to the northwest in summer. ‘midge’ is a season word.

  21. onto the barnacled rocks

    the salted spray …

    of sea

    (Iveragh peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland)

  22. praying the rich
    beating the drum on the float
    all the boys
    in the hamlet

    • This is a good picture of a rural festival, but I wonder if you mean ‘praying for prosperity’ in a general sense (good health, enough to eat, work for all)?

  23. Thank you very much.When I was a boy the rural festival were 田祭り(rice paddy festival) and 秋祭り(autumn festival).This festival is rice
    paddy festival.So, ‘rich’ means a good crop of rice and vegetables.
    祭りの日は小中学生の少年たちが自作の小さな夜たか行燈を手に持って豊年万作の歌を歌いながら、村落を練り歩きました。そのかたわらで源義経などの武将を描いた特大の行燈を車に乗せ、中学生の少年が大太鼓を叩いて豊年万作を祈ったのです。

  24. “branches of the pine
    already bent into shape
    the autumn wind”

    “the sound of a flute
    through the pines
    faintly autumn”

    (written at Genjuan, Otsu, Shiga / 17.9.12)

    (Visited Basho’s “Hut of the Phantom Dwelling” today – also later Ishiyama temple and his gravestone at Gichu-Ji – so felt inspired to write)

    • Our haibun contest is named after the first place. What is your name, please? The haiku sound rather familiar…

      • Hi Stephen – Lawrence ..
        hope to enter the Genjuan haibun contest again ..
        Gichu-ji was very inspiring also but Genjuan was a bit too new and modern, very different from his description of crumbling walls & leaking roofs .

  25. The present Genjuan building is a fairly recent restoration, I know, but you need to be able to go (or at least see) inside. Did you? Hailstone had a memorable reading meet there a number of years ago… and the spring where Basho must have collected his water still drips. If you climb up a little way above the cottage, you can find a great rock and the area used by B as a ‘monkey’s perch’. You can gaze out over the mountain scene he describes so vividly. Did you manage to find that?
    Sorry, but I don’t really spark on either of your poems this time. The first, for example, might either imply that the branches have already been bent by years of rough weather, or perhaps they have been deliberately constricted by a gardener? A less open-ended expression might have served better. Others may disagree and like the images, though.

  26. in the caldera –
    the flowing lava of
    crimson maples

    (Mt. Daisen, Oct. 22 2012)

    • Nice one, Jiko. Failed to notice it at the time.
      Hope to see you this Thursday 13.6.13 with a small sketch or painting.
      I believe, if you can only find the time, our collaborative haiga project might be right up your street.

  27. first shrine visit …
    on a white sheet of paper
    I write my first wish

    初もうで
    白紙にしるす 
    初願い

  28. “June night …
    blue neon
    another fly gets zapped”

    (Haiku at Fugengama 普限窯, June 6th)

  29. star-encrusted clay vase
    through a crack
    the Cosmos

    信楽焼
    破れて咲きし
    コスモス

  30. I must’ve misread your original verse. I understood the cosmos to mean universe. I like the idea of managing to see the cosmos through a crack in what could be an old, star-encrusted vase. A bit of mystery I think. Also, as I said earlier, I like the music of the verse (k sound in each line). I prefer the original to the rewrite.

  31. reflected in

    the ‘nigori’ saké guinomi . . .

    clear bright moon

  32. a guinomi is a cup for drinking saké
    another version could be:

    “reflected in
    the cloudy saké cup –
    hazy moon”

    but I prefer the contrast of ‘nigori’ cloudy & clear moon in the first haiku

  33. “among the ruins
    entwined with the great root
    of a strangler fig”

    (Angkor Wat, December 2013)

    • the ruined temple –
      tree-roots have cracked open
      the buddha’s head

      the ruined temple –
      torn apart / held together
      by the roots of trees

      (from ‘Clear Light’ by Alan Spence, a favourite contemporary haiku poet)

  34. Happy New Year Wishes! May 2014 glow with success for you all at Icebox! Grateful Thanks for workload that you accomplish here!

    ****

    grey-ridden sky —
    January seems to rip down
    all leaves off the trees

    ****

  35. metre of snow –
    sunshine on the roof it slides off
    with a thump

  36. celadon –

    the tingling sound

    on opening the kiln

  37. not a sound, not a ripple

    just the reflection

    of Kinkaku-ji

  38. Old Roads – haibun by Jiko

    (nearly short-listed for 2014 Genjuan haibun contest)

    Rounding a bend, I pulled out of the narrow river-valley road into the vast expanse, framed by shaggy cedar and bamboo-covered mountain slopes. A pale mist clung to the slopes, the patchwork of fields, which on my last visit was dry & brown, was now covered with a fresh sprinkling of January snow. I followed the narrow roads clustered at the foot of the mountains and passed a shrine & a bamboo grove that concealed ancient kiln sites from various centuries. The morning sun shone dimly through the haze of a silvery-gray sky as I passed an old crumbling climbing kiln that had seen its last firing a century ago & pulled up the bumpy drive leading to Sawa Kiyotsugu’s studio with its pair of wood-burning kilns.
    I got out of the car & stared momentarily at the star-encrusted soil (the crusty nature of the soil here is due to the abundance of feldspar granules which characterises the works of the local potters). Sawa sensei’s studio with its tiled roof & weathered beams had the usual artistic disarray of pots scattered around, some were placed on plinths. As I was admiring their natural fired textures the master potter appeared. I was here to help with the firing. We split some logs, cleaned the kiln shelves & prepared the kiln loading. As it grew dark I headed back into town & stayed for the night at a nearby inn.
    Next morning we finished the loading: traditional water containers for tea-ceremony, large tsubo jars, tea bowls, gourd-shaped saké flasks & flower vases.Then we closed the mouth of the kiln with bricks & mortar, leaving a gap at the base for a small bundle of twigs to start the firing. We offered saké to the kiln gods & sprinkled salt for purification, after bowing to the altar, we lit the fire. As twilight was setting in, a light snow began to fall which soon turned to sleet, it was soon time to return to Kyoto.

    “Under these pine-covered hillsides
    Of remnant snow …
    We light a fire”

  39. April rain –

    a golden carp takes shelter

    under Kinkaku-ji

  40. lingering cold –
    the cry of a crow
    through the shōji

    • it’s nice to have some activity at this page, Jiko. Thanks. My feeling is that possibly the haiku would be better if the last two lines were reversed. The cadence is better. It certainly is a cold poem!

  41. Unusually late sleet
    many yuzues are sparkling —
    my kitchen garden
    (Yoshiharu)

    I haven’t seen this section for a long time. Please give me some pieces advise.Thank you.

    • The first part seems to suggest surprise and excitement: the unusually late arrival of the sleet, and its effect on the yuzus.

      The second part introduces a somewhat private place (my garden).

      My first impression is that the word – unusually – might be too much. I’m guessing that you want to present a vivid scenery combining the yuzus and the sleet.

      Perhaps you could introduce the place image first. And then present the image of the event. Maybe you can enhance the sparkling of the yuzus by shifting this moment to the night time.

    • First sleet
      on the kitchen garden –
      citrons sparkle through

      You mean that the first sleet this year is unusually late, right? That’s a bit too much to put into your haiku. I agree with Gerald on that. In English, ‘yuzu’ is ‘citron’. My suggested revision along the lines of what G has proposed is given above. Hope these comments help.

  42. Thank you Gerald.Thank you Tito.I agree your comment and revision.
    老いらくの柚子生気満つ初時雨
    How do you translate this haiku ?

  43. Yoshiharu Says:

    A winter crow
    quarreling with the monkey —
    on the top of the dead pine

    • ‘The’ vs. ‘a’. The use of articles in haiku is subtle, and there are usually lots of nuance options. Perhaps you have too many articles in this haiku? ‘Atop the dead pine’ as last line would eliminate one of them. I’m unsure if the additional information that the pine is ‘dead’ helps or not. A good place for an argument?! A moment worth recording. Thanks.

  44. Thank you very mucu for your comment.I adapted it thus.

    A winter crow
    quarreling with a stray monkey —
    on the top of the pine
    at the lakeside

  45. I agree your comment.Thank you for your suggestion.

  46. A stray monkey
    swaying himself on the top of the pine —
    the first day of spring

    • Describing the monkey as “stray” presents some mystery.
      “himself” may not be needed.

      A stray monkey swaying
      on the top of “a” pine

      The 3rd line might work better now as a 1st line?

  47. Thank you very much for your てんさくand comment,Gerald.
    I adapted it thus.

    The first day of spring —
    a stray monkey swaying
    on the top of a pine

    What do you think of it ?

    • The image of the stray monkey is mysterious and interesting to me.

      The first line may be a little long, and it makes the poem into a complete story. In addition, lines 1 and 2 rhyme: “spring” and “swaying”. I think these points weaken the monkey image.

      A short first line might help open the poem up.

      spring mist . . .
      temple bell . . .
      spring fever . . .
      spring sun . . .

  48. Sorry. I forgot to write my name.

  49. A spring rain —
    two crows are sitting still so long
    atop the lakeside pine

    • the article “A” can be omitted in line one. There’s a smoother rhythm without it.

      “so long” hints at the observers feelings.

      The rain could suggest that the crows are waiting for it to stop? Is that your intention?

  50. Yoshiharu Says:

    Thank you very much for your comment,Gerald.
    I adapted it thus.What do you think of it ?

    Funeral bell —
    a stray monkey swaying
    atop of a pine

    Spring rain —
    two crows are idly sitting so long
    atop the lakeside pine

    • Funeral bell is quite heavy. A strong human presence to begin. Is this the main feeling/mood you want to evoke?

      • Anonymous Says:

        Thank you Gerald.This main feeling is a stray monkey swaying.

        An early summer breeze–
        a stray monkey swaying
        atop of a pine

        What do you think of it?

  51. I see. ” An early summer breeze” seems to share something many of us could have experienced. We know what it feels like. Perhaps the monkey has climbed to the top of a pine to enjoy the full force of the breeze as well as get a good view of the scenery? This version puts the reader in one season, the images are clear, and the rhythm from line 1 to line 2 is smooth. You don’t need the hyphen at the end of line 1 to signal a break, our kireji. The break comes naturally after saying the word “breeze”. Also, I think “at the top of a pine” can make the rhythm better at the end of the poem.

    ——————–

    I also like the idea of the changing season in the first version. For me, the season changing from winter to spring made the “stray monkey” seem more mysterious. However, I just wondered if the end rhyme between line 1 and line 2 might be too strong, and as a result, we lose the fact that the monkey is stray. The rhyme might be okay for some. I wonder what others think . . . ?

    The first day of spring —
    a stray monkey swaying
    on the top of a pine

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