a flurry of haiku

Until recently, I hadn’t written any poetry for quite awhile. Then we got this sudden cold and snow, which I am totally not used to, and almost every time I looked out the window or stepped out the door, I was struck by a haiku moment.

On one of the coldest nights, my dog went outside for a quick visit to the backyard. When I opened the door to let him back in, I stood for a moment, caught by the smell of the cold, the closeness of the sky, the breath of the house billowing out into the night…. lines of haiku began to form and reform in my mind, so that I had a hard time getting to sleep after that.

sharp scent of cold air

clouds drift out the open door

absorbed by stillness

 

gathering close

pale sky touches white trees

hushed in snow

 

And from the next day:

icicles drip

decorating eaves troughs

warmed by house breath

 

during the cold snap

rats take refuge in my attic

the cat’s ears twitch

 

Haiku is supposed to contain 17 syllables in lines of 5-7-5, but I don’t think it matters if you follow that exactly. What matters is the moment shared. Anyone else care to share a moment?

In my November 29 post, “haiku snapshot,” I included a poem about a crow:

 

black shape on white snow

fathomless as a deep hole

until the crow caws

 

In the comments, my friend Jean-Pierre, who has lived in Japan for over 15 years, translated my haiku into Japanese:

Yuki ni yurei

 Fukai ana soko nashi

 Karasu naku

 

When he translated it back to English again, it came out:

Ghost in the snow

Deep hole no bottom

Crow cries

 

creating a totally different poem. Check out Jean-Pierre’s comment for more details about the translation process.

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7 Responses to “a flurry of haiku”

  1. Heather Says:

    Beautiful stuff, Jacquie!

  2. Sheya Says:

    I love how you have captured every moment in a beautiful haiku.
    Great job!!!!

  3. J-P Antonio Says:

    Hello again Jacquie,

    Great haiku! It stirs up my few memories of truly cold winters in Toronto or when I was a child when winter always seemed to be white. I almost want to get on a plane and return to B.C. to share the weather, but not quite. I prefer the milder winter in Japan.

    While indulging in some down time the other day I came across a couple more haiku that I thought you might enjoy. They are both by Matsuo Basho, the Godfather of haiku. The first is about winter and the second is about a crow.

    Iza saraba
    Yukimi ni
    Korubu tokoro made

    Come now, farewell!
    I go snow viewing until
    I tumble down

    Kare eda ni
    Karasu no tomari keri
    Aki no kure

    On a bare branch
    A solitary crow
    Autumn evening

  4. Sarah Ellis Says:

    What is it about snow and crows? The other snowy day I came back from a walk in Queen Elizabeth Park and had one of those haiku moments:

    black crow on white snow
    writes the poem of himself
    a feathered haiku.

  5. Crafty Green Poet Says:

    Lovely haiku. Translating poetry is notoriously difficult, I love your two different haiku on either side of the translation process.

  6. femmeboheme Says:

    beautiful

  7. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks, femmeboheme! I’m glad this post is still getting some visits.

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