Frost Art

early morning frost
sketching cobwebs and snail trails
with a silver touch

Kim M. Russell, 2016


Image found on Pinterest

My response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, December 14th 2016, Mixing It Up, a Haiku Writing Techniques

In this new episode, Chèvrefeuille has introduced a haiku writing technique and challenged us to use it. It’s all about ‘mixing it up’ and he has given us the following example:

summer afternoon
reflected clouds fall apart
like shards

© Chèvrefeuille

He says that in this haiku it is possible to see an action of the author but also an action of nature. That’s what this technique is about: mixing up the action so the reader does not know if nature is doing the acting or if a human is doing it. Haiku are praised for getting rid of authors, authors’ opinions, and authors’ action. One way to sneak this in is to use the gerund (-ing added to a verb) combined with an action that seems sensible for both a human and for the nature/nature to do. The Japanese language has allowed poets to use this tactic for so long and so well that even their translators are barely aware of what is being done. It is a good way to combine humanity’s action with nature in a way that minimizes the impact of the author but allows an interaction between humanity and nature.

Here is an example of a haiku by Jane Reichhold in which she uses this technique:

end of winter
covering the first row
of lettuce seeds

© Jane Reichhold

And here is an example by Basho in which he uses this technique:

meigetsu ya ike o megurite yomosugara

full moon
walking around the pond
all night

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

This haiku can be read with the idea that the moon ‘walks around the pond’ as it seems to go from east to west or that the author walked around the pond the whole night enjoying the full moon.

9 thoughts on “Frost Art

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