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Monday, April 23, 2007


Shiki, who marks the fork in the road where haiku began to separate from hokku, nonetheless wrote many verses that still qualify as hokku. 

One is:

On the sandy beach,
The long spring day.

It is rather awkward visually in English, however, with its short middle line.  It would be better as:

On the sandy beach,
A long line of footprints;
The spring day.

That gives us the feeling of the vastness of space at the beach combined with a sense of time and length in the line of footprints, and that influences how we experience the spring day.

Remember that hokku is nothing like poetry as we usually think of it.  The poetry of hokku is the sensory experience -- the seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or touching that is conveyed to us through the verse, and that experience, that poetry, takes place not on the page, but in the mind of the reader, who experiences the sandy beach, the long line of footprints, the spring day.



Copyright 2007
David Coomler













Posted at 01:29 pm by hokku


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