A summer hokku by Sh˘haku:
A chestnut leaf sinks
In the clear water.
We have already discussed how one part of a hokku is often reflected in the other part. Here the purity and clarity of the silence is reflected in the purity and clarity of the water through which a single chestnut leaf sinks. This is the purity and clarity of the silent mind as well.
It is this stillness, this clarity, that makes the sinking of the leaf significant in a way that transcends our usual notions of significance and worth.
Posted at 12:13 pm by hokku
June 27, 2007 07:40 AM PDT
David, as you might know, this is one of my favorite verses.
To me, it is totally engulfing--without being able to explain it, I am, at once, the stillness, the clear water and the sinking leaf. The absolute silence surrounds and infuses everything.
This, for me is what makes an exceptional hokku--when all elements harmonize and add to each others resonant powers--working as one, as music does--each instrument adding to the other such that the whole is greater, by far, than the sum of its parts.
And that it touches us.