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From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Traditionally, the season in which a haiku is written is an essential element. In fact, in Japanese, each haiku contains a particular word (called a kigo) which indicates the season. (You can find a list of some of these words online.) As with the other traditional elements of haiku, we modern western writers are less fussy about insisting on the kigo, but the seasonal cycle still plays an important part in our haiku writing.
In this post, I’ve picked haiku and photos that specifically relate to each of the four seasons. Some of them mention the season by name and others contain a kigo. When I finished collecting the haiku, I realized that I had three poems for summer and winter and only two for spring and autumn. I decided that made sense because summer and winter are the extreme seasons. They both begin with the solstice (the longest day and the longest night). The difference between light and dark is more extreme as is the temperature. Spring and autumn are the fluid seasons. They each begin with the equinox when light and dark are in balance. They are transitional seasons, carrying us from one extreme to the next.
The cycle of the seasons mimics the cycle of our own lives so we begin today with spring, the season of birth and rebirth, of flowers budding and blossoming, of leaves returning to the trees. And we end with winter, the season when nature turns inward, when vegetation seems to die and we begin and end the active part of our days in darkness.
in prayer position
Haiku Canada Review – October 2016, Volume 1
May comes up
last year’s leaves
what we can imagine—
all the shades
through a bite-sized hole
in a summer leaf
the times we live in
New England Letters #102, November 14, 2019
I blow the fire
Frogpond, Winter, 2014
http://neverendingstoryhaikutanka.blogspot.ca/feb. 22, 2017
New England Letters #100, September 15, 2019
pine needles on snow
the lined faces
of the old ones
New England Letters #117 February 14, 2021
beech leaves cling
to winter trees
harder now to let go
the city pauses