f/k/a . . . the archives

September 25, 2008

a few autumn kigo and haiku

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 4:10 pm

Kigo are “season words” (from the Japanese 季語, kingyo) — words or phrases that are generally associated with a particular season. In traditional Japanese haiku and linked poetry, kigo are used to give a verse its seasonal reference. (See the Wikipedia explanation for more.)  A long dispute was waged in the Japanese and English-language haiku communities as to whether a poem can even be a haiku without a kigo. (Not that it matters much, but the f/k/a Gang thinks it’s sufficient to have a reference to “Nature” in order to create a haiku.)

For examples of kigo, check out “The five hundred essential Japanese season words,” Selected by Kenkichi Yamamoto and translated by William Higginson and Kris Young Kondo.

As we wrote a couple months ago, HaikuWorld hosts The Shiki Monthly Kukai — a peer reviewed poetry contest open to everyone (full details here).  Each month, in the kigo portion of the contest, the moderators choose a kigo that participants must use in their submitted haiku.  For the September 2008 kigo, the Shiki folks decided to choose the word “autumn” itself, rather than a particular word associated with autumn, as their kigo.

Below are the poems submitted by four of our Honored Guests Poets for the September 2008 Shiki Kukai. (The full results can be found here now, and here next month and thereafter.)

a field
of faceless pumpkins…
Autumn begins

… by Ed Markowski (3rd place tie) …

leaves raked
a boy jumps
into autumn

…. by Roberta Beary

a granddaughter
leads her through the corn maze
autumn deepens

…. by tom painting

Dad’s wedding ring
begins to loosen . . .
autumn rain

…. by Alice Frampton .. ..

Below, are haiku and senryu using season words that we usually associate with autumn — scarecrow, pumpkin, and apple.

withering wind…
the scarecrow’s jacket
fits

harvest moon
we move the scarecrow
to the front porch

… by Ed Markowski

burning rubbish–
a scarecrow too
goes up in smoke

wind-bent in moonlight
the scarecrow leans
on a cane

the village dog
suddenly disapproves…
the scarecrow

… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

– click for a crop of than 50 scarecrow haiku by Master Issa

itchy back
the scarecrow
lends a hand

….. by dagosan

seeding time
the farmer dresses the same
as the scarecrow

… by Jim Kacian – from The Scare Crow (Red Moon Press 1999)

.. The book The Scare Crow: A Collection of Haiku & Senryu (Leroy Kanterman, Ed., Hiroake Sato, translator, Red Moon Press, 1999) has dozens of haiku featuring the scarecrow, along with an essay “The Scarecrow and Our Haiku” by John Stevenson.

autumn sun–
the lawyer carries home
a pumpkin

… by Barry George

dry leaves scattered
over roadside pumpkins
the first hard frost

…. by Matt Morden (Shiki Kukai, third place, Nov. 1997)

perched on
the sumo’s belly –
one large pumpkin

………. by dagosanNisqually Delta Review (summer/fall issue 2006)

morning drizzle
the shifting shape
of the apple sack

… by paul m – frogpond XXIX: 2 (2006)

during discussion
on the meaning of life . . . the crunch
of a student’s apple

. . .  by George Swede from Almost Unseen

no rain for days —
a half-eaten apple taken away
from the fruit flies

… by Gary Hotham – The Heron’s Nest (Sept. 2006)

1 Comment

  1. beautiful autumn lines here. :)

    Comment by kouji — September 26, 2008 @ 6:32 am

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