Animals frequently are subjects for haiku. It is the common
view that animals are soulless, but it should be of special
interest for haiku poets that the word animal
quite literally means ensouled . . . hmm!
As the basis of haiku is reality, haiku are not to be intellective
but experiential, for only what has been experienced and
not merely thought has the veridical value of reality. Haiku
poets can best apprehend now-moments reality in the
act of vitally living. [Prompted in part by a passage of
Lama Anagarika Govindas.
Another of the many paradoxes of haiku is that the infinite
modes of nature are best expressed through the restriction
of brevity that haiku imposes on itself.
[Prompted in part by a passage of R. H. Blyths.]
Transience is what gives poignancy to many a haiku.
In genuine haiku there is repose, but this repose is not
merely a resting but a vibrant state with everything being
alive, but in an equipose through being in total harmony.[Gloss
on words by Hugh McGregor Ross.]
For haiku poets: The world is neither beautiful nor
ugly, but simply is.
[Adapted from Vivekanada. Courtesy of Kim Dorman.]
Sometimes we are to perceive entities with compassion, as
Chiyo did when she went to a neighbor to borrow water because
a morning glory had twined around the handle of her well-bucket;
other times, with a dollop of humor, as Bashô did
with the stones covered with pinks among which he wished
to nap after having had a couple of drinks. [Prompted in
part by a passage by Stewart W. Holmes.]
Haiku are remarkable, yet modest.
Haiku may be said to be wisdom poetry in the following senseusing
words of Dennis Hirotos from his No Abode: The Record
of Ippen (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1997, p. lxvii):
. . . where the subject-object dichotomy has fallen
away and the self and world seen from the stance of egocentricty
have been cast off, there arises wisdom in which each thing
is perceived just as it isgrasped not as an object
apart from the subject, but in its sameness with all other
things, including the subject.
Frequently a, genuine haiku is an epiphany of the commonplace.
[Gloss on words of Frederick Francks.]
Haiku is the poetry of the leaving out.
Almost always the entities in haiku are utterly simple,
utterly themselves, and utterly sufficient. [Gloss on words
of David Hintons.]
That which is fleeting, which passes out of existence, is
the mother of haiku.
It seems that haiku is related to Zen in that both aim for
the fundamental state or primordial unity that exists in
us before intellects fabricated dualities come forth:
in Zen, that which is prior to both unenlightenment and
enlightenment; and in haiku, that which is prior to our
intellects separation of self and other, of both subjectivity
and objectivity. [Prompted in part by a passage by Musô
In haiku the better poets strive for harmony between elements
that have different characteristics, not seeking to incorporate
in their haiku entities with the same qualities; while lesser
poets take the easier way of putting into their haiku those
things that have similar natures, avoiding the creation
of harmony resulting from the aesthetic juxtaposition of
entities that differ from each other in various ways. [Prompted
by words by Confucius: Analects XIII: 23.]