Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Frog Pond Haiku

frog pond at twilight
a thought tugged at the corner
of my mind

Published on PoemHunter Jan. 19 2013


Yesterday, I posted a decades-old question -- what is a haiku? -- on To the Lighthouse: Is "War and Peace" a Haiku?

Here is an excerpt:

And if it [haiku] means something, then something else can clearly not be it…Defining American haiku is a slippery slope that ranges from the traditional Yuki Teikei (5-7-5, kigo, kireji) to “anything I call a haiku is a haiku”—the last being especially problematic in that it would require us to recognize War and Peace as a haiku if Tolstoy had so insisted.

-- Haiku's American Frontier by Paul Miller, Frogpond, 35.1, 2012

Hmm… what is a haiku? Before answering this important question, in my humble opinion, we as haiku practitioners should  honestly answer the following two questions regarding the most-read haiku by Basho:

The old pond;                                
A frog jumps in --                        
The sound of the water.           

Q1: How can there be significant meaning in this 3-LINE POEM which merely describes a frog jumping into an old pond?

Q2: If I replace “frog” with any other amphibian creature or any creature that can dive into a pond, is it still considered to be great? ”

Welcome to join the discussion