Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Carpe Diem Preview #2, Kanshicho, the other way of writing haiku.



Today this episode of Carpe Diem Preview is about Kanshicho, the other way to write haiku. As you may know I am writing my haiku in the classical way with 5-7-5 syllables, but mostly I write my haiku in the so called Kanshicho-style. In this style the syllable-count isn't used. It looks more like, as Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) calls it, the tone of the Chinese verse.

Matsuo Basho, a haiku master, introduced in 1682, as a reaction on the Danrinschool, the Kanshicho-style in haiku. Kanshicho broke the classical 5-7-5 syllables count. A haiku in Kanshicho-style could follow a different syllables scheme, e.g. 6-10-3 or 2-9-5 syllables. In this Kanshicho-style the themes he used were detachment and the purity of living in poverty. In 1685 Basho let go this Kanshicho-style and re-wrote several haiku in Kanshicho-style to the classical way of writing haiku with 5-7-5 syllables.

Foxglove


I love the Kanshicho-style and I am using that style frequently in my haiku. I will give you some examples:

a lonely flower
my companion
for one night


Let us look closer to this haiku in Kanshicho-style the syllables-count in this one is 5-3-3, it could even be shorter ... look at the next re-written 'a lonely flower'.

lonely flower
companion
one night


Here the syllables-count is: 4-3-2

And it's even possible to make it shorter, but than you have to change the sequence of the lines. Look at this one:

night's
companion
one flower



By changing the sequence of the lines ... this haiku itself doesn't change, but the syllables-count in this one is 1-3-2.

Isn't it a wonder? Kanshicho-style haiku are wonderful and closer to the Western way of writing haiku. To enclose this Carpe Diem Preview I will write a classical and a non-classical (Kanshicho-style) haiku.

a Nightingale's song
the light trembling of leaves -
ah! that sweet silence


This is the 'back to basic' haiku with the classical syllables-count 5-7-5 (you notice that the second line counts six syllables, but the kireji (cutting word '-') counts also for a syllable.
OK we have seen this classical haiku 'a Nightingale's song' and now I will re-write it in the non-classical style of Kanshicho.

song of a Nightingale
the light trembling of poplar leaves -
ah! that silence


As we look at the syllables-count of this re-done haiku 'a Nightingale's song' we can see the Kanshicho-style syllables-count 6-8-4.

I hope you have enjoyed this Carpe Diem Preview about the Kanshicho-style of writing haiku. This way of writing haiku I love very much and I use it frequently. Try it yourself ... enjoy the fun of writing without counting.

Nightingale
Blessed Be,

5 comments:

  1. Some haiku poets swear by counting syllables, while others swear at it. Who's right?

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    Replies
    1. good point :-) I suppose they are all right, as long as their comfort is allright :-D

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  2. I am loving the Carpe Diem Previews!!!

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  3. Thank you for your comments on this post. I love the Kanshicho-style of writing haiku and I think that ... freedom of mind and pleasure in composing haiku isn't bound at counting syllables. Just write from the heart and enjoy haiku.

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