fragments and phrases

Written for:  Carpe Diem Universal Jane #17 fragment and phrase
This episode I love to ask you all to create haiku (or tanka) in which you use the fragment and phrase theory as stated by Jane Reichhold, just to honor her.

“For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to call the shorter portion, the fragment and the longer portion, or rest of the poem, the phrase.
The need for distinguishing between the two parts of the ku takes on importance when one begins to discuss the use of articles (“a”, “an” and “the”) because it is possible to have different rules concerning the different parts. Before getting into that, let me state that the fragment can be (or usually is) either line 1 or line 3. A clear example of the first is:

rain gusts
the electricity goes
on and off

Even without punctuation the reader can hear and feel the break between the fragment (rain gusts) and the phrase (the electricity goes on and off). Also one instinctively feels that the second line break would go after “goes”. Yet, another author may find merit in continuing the line to read “the electricity goes on” and then let the final line bring in the dropped shoe – “and off”. I chose to have “on and off” as the third line because my goal was to establish an association between “rain gusts” and “on and off”. One can write of many qualities of “rain gusts”, but in this ku, the “on and off” aspect is brought forward and then reinforced by bringing in the power of electricity. An example of the fragment found in the third line is often used as answer when creating a riddle (a valid and well-used haiku technique) as in:

a vegetarian
with legs crossed in zazen
the roasting chicken

It is also possible to write ku in which the reader would have to decide which part was the fragment by combining either lines 1 and 2 or reading lines 2 and 3 together to make the phrase. An example might be:

moonlit pines
the flashlight

But even here, the fact that “moonlit pines” is not written as “the moonlit pines” tells one that the author was silently designating the first line as the fragment even though the middle line has its own curious brevity. Still, the lack of punctuation allows the reader to try out the thought that as the moonlight in the pines became dimmer someone had to turn on a flashlight. Or, reading the poem as it was experienced: the moonlight on the pines was so bright the flashlight seemed to be getting dimmer.”  (Jane Reichhold)

bare branches of the twin oak
in the backyard

together as one
the butterfly and the bee
searching for honey

© Chèvrefeuille (our host)

Here is my attempt:

rush of blue
screeches above my head
jays are heading home


croaking in bushes
as night falls across back yard
lonely voice of frog


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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11 Responses to fragments and phrases

  1. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    I like the way you use the sounds so vividly.


  2. janicead says:

    Agree with Rosemary, nicely done.


  3. kim881 says:

    Your haiku resound with jays and that lonely frog.


  4. Janice says:

    I like both your haiku capturing sounds of the season. I also enjoyed your choice of quotes.


  5. Nice set Sara. Maybe you know that I am busy with creating a new cdhk e-book themed ‘frogs’ and I love to use your second haiku for that e-book if that’s okay.


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