Karumi (lightness)

Written for:  Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #16 Basho’s “karumi”

What is karumi?

“Bashô developed this concept during his final travels in 1693. Karumi is perhaps one of the most important and least understood principles of haiku poetry. Karumi can best be described as “lightness,” or a sensation of spontaneity. In many ways, karumi is a principle rooted in the “spirit” of haiku, rather than a specific technique. Bashô taught his students to think of karumi as “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. When karumi is incorporated into haiku, there is often a sense of light humor or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world. Many haiku using karumi are not fixed on external rules, but rather an unhindered expression of the poet’s thoughts or emotions. This does not mean that the poet forgets good structure; just that the rules of structure are used in a natural manner. In my opinion, karumi is “beyond” technique and comes when a poet has learned to internalize and use the principles of the art interchangeably.”

White chrysanthemum

Here is the “karumi” haiku to work with:

White chrysanthemum
I look holding it straight
no dust at all                                              © Basho

purity of petals
pockets of bright light                              © Sara

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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3 Responses to Karumi (lightness)

  1. pvcann says:

    Enjoyed learning about that.

    Like

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