Saturday, March 5, 2016

Carpe Diem #932 silk tree

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of Carpe Diem in which we will explore another nice haiku writing technique which was used by Basho. Today its about rhyme.


As I discovered haiku in the late eighties, the first thing I learned was that "rhyme" isn't used in haiku, but Basho did use it on a regular base. For example in this haiku:

nebu no ki no hagoshi mo itoe hoshi no kage

a silk tree
even through the leaves waery
of starlight

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In the way of Basho

Rhyme is a major component of Western poetry. In Japan most of the sound units (onji) are built on only five vowels, and rhyming occurs naturally. Yet, haiku translated into rhymed lines often need so much padding to make the rhyme work that the simplicity of the poem gets lost. However, if the reader takes the time to read the romaji version of the above haiku by Basho. one can see how often the old master employed the linkage of sound in his work. The rhyme, in the above haiku, occurs here with hagoshi ("through leaves"), hoshi ("star"), and the seven "oh" sounds.

Japanese Quilt

Another example n which Basho used "rhyme":

kazuki fusu futon ya samuki yo ya sugoki

lying down
with quilts over the head
such a cold night

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

In this haiku the rhyme occurs in "kazuki", "samuki" and "sugoki".

My response

The use of rhyme in haiku isn't really my "cup of tea", but I have given it a try:

bright sunlight
breaks through the curtains
touches her naked skin

© Chèvrefeuille

Hm ... not a strong use of rhyme, I could only come up with that first line with the inner rhyme, its really not my "cup of tea" I think.

Well ... the challenge is clear ... try to write an all new haiku using rhyme as Basho did and I tried. Have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 8th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, rain, later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share.

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