cold night

Written for:  Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #10 – Such a Cold Night

Japanese Quilt

Japanese Quilt

As you can see, in this haiku Basho uses rhyme, a not so very well known haiku writing technique, because, as you maybe know, in (translated) haiku the use of rhyme isn’t common (according to Western studies).

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 in “kazuki”, “samuki” and “sugoki”..

So that brings us a new challenge … try to let your 2nd stanza, of two lines, rhyme too.

kazuki fusu futon ya samuki yo ya sugoki

lying down
with quilts over the head
such a cold night                                        © Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

my toes are frozen and blue                    © Sara McNulty
fingers feel the same way too

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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