WHR April 2014
World Haiku Review
Two Bramleys by Susumu Takiguchi
In This Issue
Editorial - on this page
A recommended theme of this issue is “Spring”. The season symbolises such things as newness, youth, green shoots, warmth, flowers, love, happiness, gaiety and bon homie. However, entries along this line were surprising lower than expected in number. Instead, there were more haiku poems about spring with a tinge of pessimism, loneliness, sorrow and hundreds of shades of grey than usual. Now, why is this?
Part of the reason must be the fact that we live in a rather negative and pessimistic world and the mood is reflected in people’s haiku even if they are talking about spring. Another reason could be that those of us writing haiku belong to the last quarter of our life, rather than the first. We have seen too many tragic events and experienced too many unhappy times to indulge in the exuberance of this beautiful, optimistic and bright season and to forget the miseries all around us, or our own.
There is nothing wrong to say something gloomy in the haiku of spring. I have no worry about it in itself. “Shunshu” is a Japanese kigo that depicts the melancholic feelings one sometimes has in spring. However, the vast majority of Japanese spring kigo are otherwise.
However, I have a slight worry about something which might or might not be true. And that is, that some people might have a mistaken idea that haiku poems must not talk about positive, bright and beautiful things, and that their theme should be the sad and pessimistic side of life. This fortunately is not the case. Haiku originated in waka which dealt with things beautiful as well as melancholic themes (melancholy was part of the sense of beauty). So should haiku have both of these elements which are after all the true reflection of life itself.