Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Carpe Diem #930 mirror

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know, my sensei, Matsuo Basho, is very important to me not even I admire his haiku skills, but I also admire his way of living. I am just a guy who loves to be in nature, sometimes they "you are nature", okay that can be, but ... well I do like being in nature, as does e.g. Hamish and several other haiku poets from our haiku family.

This month we are exploring Basho's way of writing haiku ... we walk his path with its many different haiku writing techniques. Some of those haiku writing techniques came along here in our special feature "Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques" and some didn't. As for todays episode mirror ... its one of the haiku writing techniques which came along in the first series of CD-HWT last year.

Today it's about comparison and the haiku by Basho, which we will look at, is one of his known haiku and I think I have used it earlier here or on one of my other weblogs.

Rabbit Ear Iris
rabbit-ear iris
how much it looks like
its image in water

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In this haiku Basho uses the technique of comparison. This technique is very close to the technique of association, which we had in our first regular episode of this month, that it may seem they are the same. There is, however, a slight / vital difference. All comparisons are associations, but not all associations are comparative. The above haiku by Basho is a great example of this technique and this idea.

As I was preparing this episode I looked back at that episode which I mentioned above from our first series of CD-HWT and I thought "I use a part of that episode here again".

In the words of Betty Drevniok: "In haiku the SOMETHING and the SOMETHING ELSE are set down together in clearly stated images. Together they complete and fulfill each other as ONE PARTICULAR EVENT." She rather leaves the reader to understand that the idea of comparison is showing how two different things are similar or share similar aspects.

a spring nap
downstream cherry trees
in bud

© Jane Reichhold

What is expressed, but not said, is the thought that buds on a tree can be compared to flowers taking a nap. One could also ask to what other images could cherry buds be compared? A long list of items can form in one's mind and be substituted for the first line. Or one can turn the idea around and ask what in the spring landscape can be compared to a nap without naming things that close their eyes to sleep. By changing either of these images one can come up with one's own haiku while getting a new appreciation and awareness of comparison.

Credits: stars, the Pleiads
Here is another haiku in which the technique of comparison is used:

a sky full of stars
how improbable
my parents would meet

© Robert Mainone

A haiku in which the comparison is used, needs two parts. In this haiku the “sky full of stars” is compared to “the meeting of parents” and the million-to-one chance of that happening. The poet has achieved an aha moment! with the connection.

Using comparison is not easy, but at the other hand it's an easy to choose way to make your haiku a beauty. I don't think that I am using this technique very often, but it makes it sometimes easy, that through by e.g. lack of inspiration, you just need to bring together two different images / scenes to create a beautiful haiku ... so here is my haiku in which I have used comparison.

in the early sunlight
morning dew evaporates -
spirits climb to the sky

© Chèvrefeuille

In this haiku I think its to find the comparison in "morning dew evaporates" and "spirits climb to the sky". If I did create an aha moment? I think so ..

Comparison ... a nice way to write/compose haiku ... it brings you in a way immediately two lines and you have just to write a third line towards it to make your haiku complete.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 5th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, the first CD-Special of this month, later on.


  1. Great post and haikus today!

  2. That's definitely a great shaman-haiku there Chev...

  3. I'm late to the party but want to join in! Excellent prompt...not sure I achieved an "aha" moment but will read others.

    1. I love your work but am unable to comment because of your format.Maybe you could change it.