Saturday, January 7, 2012

Basho Revisited, a waterfall of flowers

Also published for The Purple Treehouse

Humour ... was, and is still, part of haiku. Basho also used humour in his haiku. Humour isn't my thing to use in haiku. In some of my haiku it's possible that there is a touch of humour, but I did that unconscious and not on purpose.
Basho's next haiku has this humour very clearly. He has written this at Ryumon Falls at the southern foot of Mount Ryumondake in Yoshino, province of Nara. This is the area with Japan's most notable display of cherry trees. This verse uses a comparitive technique: Basho is comparing how a person who is drunk stands (or doesn't stand) with the shape of a waterfall and with the way branches loaded with blossoms hang down. (Source: Jane Reichhold).

sake nomi ni    katara n kakaru    taki no hana

drinking friends
to talk I'll hang over like this
a waterfall of flowers

Not a common (counted) verse in this translation by Jane Reichhold, but I think that's no problem. I myself don't count the syllables when writing my haiku.
To write a haiku by myself in the Spirit of Basho's isn't easy, but I have to try.

Well I have written a few haiku in the sense and tone of this one by Basho. I only can hope that it has also a little bit of Basho's humour in it.

on the way home
drunken sailors bend over
to vomit

it's a strange sight
like a waterfall they fall
drunken sailors

Ah! that sight
a waterfall of flowers
when vomiting

I really loved doing this part of Basho Revisited.



  1. waterfall of flowers is of the most powerful imagery.

  2. Extremely interesting! Do drop in here too ~

  3. the drunken sailors bit was hilarious :) I like, happy gooseberry day Chevre :)

  4. Thanks for your kind comments. I didn't know that I could write haiku with humour :)

  5. I have an incidental humor that sometimes sneaks in my writing...
    and I have worked to keep my haiku serious ... until I read this...
    thank you for the humorous haiku...
    the vision of sailors indeed will stay with me.
    Thank you.