Thursday, October 16, 2014

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #9 "spiders"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy to present you all our new episode of CD "Little Creatures". This time the 'little creature' is a spider and I came to this idea because I ran into a wonderful haiku written by Richard Wright (1908-1960) a modern haiku-poet.

Richard Wright, one of the early forceful and eloquent spokesmen for black Americans, author of "Native Son," and "Black Boy", was also, it turns out, a major poet. During the last eighteen months of his life, he discovered and became enamored of haiku, the strict seventeen-syllable Japanese form. Wright became so excited about the discovery that he began writing his own haiku, in which he attempted to capture, through his sensibility as an African American, the same Zen discipline and beauty in depicting man's relationship, not to his fellow man as he had in his fiction, but to nature and the natural world.
In all, he wrote over 4,000 haiku, from which he chose, before he died, the 817 he preferred. Rather than a deviation from his self-appointed role as spokesman for black Americans of his time, Richard Wright's haiku, disciplined and steeped in beauty, are a culmination: not only do they give added scope to his work but they bring to it a universality that transcends both race and color without ever denying them.

Credits: Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Wright wrote his haiku obsessively--in bed, in cafes, in restaurants, in both Paris and the French countryside. His daughter Julia believes, quite rightly, that her father's haiku were "self-developed antidotes against illness, and that breaking down words into syllables matched the shortness of his breath." They also offered the novelist and essayist a new form of expression and a new vision: with the threat of death constantly before him, he found inspiration, beauty, and insights in and through the haiku form. The discovery and writing of haiku also helped him come to terms with nature and the earth, which in his early years he had viewed as hostile and equated with suffering and physical hunger. Fighting illness and frequently bedridden, deeply upset by the recent loss of his mother, Ella, Wright continued, as his daughter notes, "to spin these poems of light out of the gathering darkness."
The haiku which triggered me to make a "Little Creatures" episode about spiders is the following. I think the scene he paints with his words is very clear ...

The webs of spiders
Sticking to my sweaty face
In the dusty woods

© Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Or what do you think of this one also by Richard Wright:

At a funeral,
Strands of filmy spider webs
On coffin flowers

Credits: Dewy Cobweb
And of course I have sought for 'spider'-haiku by other haiku-poets. Here is one by Issa:

kumo no su ni tsuki sashikonde yoru no semi

on the moonlit spider web
an evening

© Issa
Or this one by Buson:

Spiders' webs
Are hot things
In the summer grove

© Yosa Buson

A nice set of haiku I think. And now it's up to you to write an all new CLASSICAL haiku following the classical rules inspired on this "Little Creatures"episode ... I have given it a try too of course. Here is my haiku inspired on this "spiders" episode of our "Little Creatures" feature:

in the light of the full moon
a cobweb shimmers like crystal -
sound of falling rain

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... what do you think? Did I succeed? I hope that this episode of our "Little Creatures" feature will inspire you all to write an all new haiku. Have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions at noon (CET) and will remain open until October 23rd at noon (CET).


  1. i'm not fond of spiders but their webs are works of art...your web shimmering like crystal in the moon light is exquisite!

  2. Wow ... THANK you for this post .... I had NO IDEA he wrote haiku! Will be adding his book to my (suddenly rapidly expanding) haiku library.

    Really loving the beautiful scene you've painted in your haiku Chevrefeuille. Really loved this post ----