Get out Chairman Miaow

Here’s another of my haiku a day efforts. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago and, in hindsight, I’m not at all sure this would be considered a true haiku, for one solid reason which I’ll give afterwards. In any case, I shouldn’t really give a preamble; a haiku should stand by itself so here it is:

Get out Chairman Miaow!

I don’t care if it’s freezing;

this is not your house.

Now, there are elements of a haiku here: an indication of season, an object, a place even. But my main beef is that there is also something else: an implicit observer. The presence of the poet is felt, and more than this, his mood and attitude towards the object. In traditional haiku there should be a kind of oneness between the subject and object. Consider Basho, for example (trans. K. Yasuda):

A crimson dragonfly,

As it lights, sways together

With a leaf of rye.

Here there isn’t a sense of a poet contemplating a dragonfly; a dragonfly just is.

On the other hand, here is Kobayashi Issa (trans. R.Haas)  with a haiku where we can perhaps sense the poet’s opinion of the object:

No doubt about it,

the mountain cuckoo

is a crybaby.

There are many, many other examples of haiku indicating disdain for the mountain cuckoo. And in fact, now that I look into it more, many examples introducing the subject and the object into the haiku. Another from Issa:

A huge frog and I,

staring at each other,

neither of us moves.

You know what, maybe I’ll go easier on myself and let my original effort slide for the time being.



About j.a.prufrock

Ex-journalist, lapsed writer, sometimes teacher, Francophile (not James Franco), candlestick-maker. After a lengthy sabbatical from all forms of writing, I've retaken to it in the form of blogging, at first. I keep two blogs, with my journalism (Assorted Bylines: separate from my creative writing (WritersWriteWords:
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