Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #64 Beyond "movement"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first Tokubetsudesu episode of 2016 in which we will explore "undou" (movement), the new haiku writing technique which I created in our second series of Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques.

The creation of this new haiku writing technique "undou" (movement) started actually with the first episode of Carpe Diem Perpetuum Mobile in which I explored, together with you, to bring movement into haiku. Before the creation of "undou" I asked Jane Reichhold about this "new haiku writing technique" and she came up with her first response. She told me that there wasn't a known haiku writing technique "movement". So I promised her to bring more information about this to her, but through lack of time I responded almost two months later than planned.

Movement ... in nature, the seasons, growth and so on. According to Jane isn't a technique for haiku. Why? Let me try to explain (and reproduce) what Jane told me. Jane and I have had a very long discussion about this through email and in a way her ideas and thoughts about "movement in haiku" were very enlightening for me.

Haiku is the poetry of the moment ... it is the beauty of that moment and that moment, as you all know, is as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. Just an eye-blink, a heart beat ... And if you would bring that short moment into haiku there is no movement at all. Haiku is a static response on that short moment. You catch the moment and that is it.
As we bring "movement" into our haiku, than it's no longer a static scene, but than it's a dynamic scene. The scene is no longer a short moment (like the pebble), but it becomes a longer, bigger, broader scene.
Because "movement" is not longer an eye-blink or a heartbeat.

That's why this idea of "movement" in haiku intrigues me. Why bring that dynamic into haiku? I think ... dynamics make the haiku more lively, more exciting ... catching movement in haiku is in my opinion awesome. Dynamics caught in three lines ... wow.

As I am writing this post about "undou" (movement) that famous haiku "frog pond" by Basho comes in mind. As Basho created that haiku he did something else than everyone before him. Everyone before him used frogs in their poetry because of their croaking and not because of their movement.

old pond
frog jumps in
water sound

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)

In that famous haiku by Basho lays the birth of "undou" (movement). "Undou" (movement) however is more than only the movement of a frog. It's the movement of nature, of our world, movement that is everlasting like a "perpetuum mobile" and that, my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, is why I created "undou" (movement) as a new haiku writing technique.

I know that Jane will follow this discussion and maybe, just maybe ... I can convince her that "movement" can be part of haiku.

apple blossom falls
scattered by the late spring breeze
apple blossom falls 

© Chèvrefeuille

This is "undou", this is movement.

Another one:

seasons come and go
she ... the moon always the same
plays with the waves

© Chèvrefeuille

The water of the ocean moves ... through the beauty of her ... the moon. Movement ... I think can be part of haiku. What do you think?

like wheels
always turning
seasons come and go

© Chèvrefeuille

I am looking forward to your responses and your ideas and thoughts about this haiku writing technique which I created "undou" (movement). Don't be afraid, feel free to mingle in this discussion.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until January 8th at noon (CET). Share your haiku using this "undou" with us all and please feel free to share your thoughts about "undou" with us too. I will (try to) publish our new episode, Kan-no-uchi (mid-winter), later on.


  1. Such a good point you made about basho and his frog being about movement. In fact this is rally very interesting analysis - and brought froward some very fine haiku, too. Undou is surely to become a major element of haiku, and frankly, when I think of a haiku without undou, it seems to be very dull suddenly if it is not a very nice one. That movement brings the moment alive, and contrasts so well with the 'background' in a haiku. It brings a whole new meaning to Basho'š frog'and shows the difference between a haiku and a painting. It broadens the ways we can use haiku as writers.