Friday, March 11, 2016

Carpe Diem #936 Forest

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I read all of your wonderful responses than I can only say ... "we are closing in to the way of haiku writing as the master, Basho, did". It's really awesome to see that your haiku writings skills are improving as do mine. It's a joy to read all the beauties you share here and I am looking forward to our days ...

Today our haiku writing technique, as used by Basho, is one of the HWT we have seen here earlier and I think as I say M.C. Escher, one of the greatest Dutch painters ever, than you will know which HWT we are going to explore in this episode.

black forest
whatever you may say
a morning of snow

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Black Forest
Well ... do you know which HWT we are going to discuss? Yes ... Paradox ... In the haiku above by Basho, you can see the paradox in the "black forest" and "a morning of snow". The images shown in this haiku are opposites of each other and that's the paradox, but paradox can also be very confusing as we see on a regular base in the paintings by Escher.

For example in this painting titled "Waterfall":

Waterfall - M.C. Escher

[...] "Paradox is the life of haiku, for in each verse some particular thing is seen, and at the same time, without loss of its individuality and separateness, its distinctive difference from all other things, it is seen as a no-thing, as all things, as an all-thing." [...] (Chèvrefeuille)

One of the aims of haiku is to confuse the reader just enough to attract interest and engage the mind. Using this HWT, paradox, will give the reader something to ponder after the last word has been read. Again, the author cannot espouse nonsense but has to construct a truthful paradox connected to reality or even a higher reality. It is not easy to come up with a new subject, but when an author discovers one, the haiku's briefness adds to the excitement of deciphering the paradox.

Here is an example by Jane Reichhold, my support, in which she has used paradox:

waiting room
a patch of sunlight
wears out the chairs

© Jane Reichhold

Søren Kierkegaard, writes the following about paradox, in the Philosophical Fragments:

[...] "...that one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think." [...]

I ran through my archive and found the next haiku in which I tried to use paradox. I couldn't come up with a new one, but you never know ...

reaching for the sun
tulips bursting through the earth -
colorful rainbow

© Chèvrefeuille

Paradox ... a nice way to confuse our readers, but it isn't an easy HWT. Enjoy!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 14th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, robe, later on.


  1. Love the thought of tulips. Will be visiting the tulip fields on March 27! Incredibly excited to visit your home land.

  2. Sorry ... I ran out of time, but here's my post: Bastet