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Reflection on Haiku.

Haiku and metaphor originate in situations that bring two aspects of consciousness together simultaneously as a comparison or more basic juxtaposition. One aspect is a sensory image, the other is a series of images that has mellowed into a concept or an idea stored in memory. The conscious mind addresses both aspects as a unified situation having a concrete sensory and an abstract cognitive part, the two parts binding in a moment of emotional comprehension which joins them, perhaps for the first time.

Too, haiku and metaphor have an additional dimension involving words and phrases representing the experiential situation as a disciplined language event. The experience of emotional understanding is given linguistic form, and the entire ensemble of sensory image, idea, emotional insight, and specific language is referred to as a haiku or metaphor.

a tethered horse


in both stirrups

-Yosa Buson

Our writer adds:

What’s the situation here? The rider has dismounted and is not minding his steed, staying overlong at the tavern, perhaps, or the whorehouse. He is inferred but not even mentioned, so we enter the consciousness of the horse. How does it feel to be left out in the cold?


Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto


old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

Translated by Jane Reichhold

The old pond
A frog jumped in,

Translated by Alan Ginsberg

For 30 more translations plus one commentary go here.

I should also mention that Reichhold’s  Basho The Complete Haiku is the best collection of haiku ever.

My attempt:

an old pond
a frog jumps into
the water sounds


My bones
feel the quilts;
a frosty night.


Suddenly thinking of it
I went out and was sweeping the garden;
a spring evening


Will summer rains
return Mount Fuji
into the lake?


The moon beginning to fall
on four or five people


The true story here.

Peeping through
the willow, lonely
with stars


This day on which
the cherry blossoms fell,
has drawn to its close


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