silver fish tail flaps
cormorant stretches black wings
bonded by a snare

Kim M. Russell, 2017


Image found on Pinterest

My response to Carpe Diem #1217 Cormorant fishing (Ukai)

In a month all about classical and non-classical kigo (seasonwords), today has shared a haiku by Basho:

so fascinating
but then so sad:
cormorant fishing boat

© Bashō

He says that Bashō strikes a perfect balance between the fascination with this ‘ingenious’ method of fishing and the revelation of its implications, karmic and otherwise.

Chèvrefeuille tells us that cormorant fishing is a method in which the bird has a snare attached to the base of its throat. When the cormorant catches a fish, it is unable to swallow it and the fisherman extracts it from the bird’s throat. The process is repeated, over and over again. This method of fishing, hundreds of years old, inspired many haiku. And, as would be expected, most are in empathy with the plight of the bird.

He has given us another example of a haiku on cormorant fishing:

my soul
dived in and out of the water
with the cormorant

© Onitsura


10 thoughts on “Ukai

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