Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Senryu Example - serious

While humor is very much a part of senryu, serious senryu are not just important to senryu but also to haiku in general. As mentioned in previous posts, a great many senryu are published as haiku in the West, though this is rarely done in Japan. In fact, it is so common than even professional editors fail to see any distinction between the two. Yet the differences are profound.

frayed to nothingness,
the raveled string of life


~M. Kei

The verse above is not a haiku -- no seasonal reference, no formal pattern, nothing of nature in it. It makes use of a metaphor (frowned upon in haiku) and makes use of formatting to convey part of the meaning of the poem.

This verse was written after my mother died and describes exactly my experience of her dying and death. The long decline into illness, fraying her fragile frame, until at last... she died. It is a case of an event so packed with emotion that it is impossible (and unnecessary) to describe the emotion. A bald statement of the facts suffices; anyone who has ever watched a parent slowly dying needs no explanation, and for those who have not, no amount of explanation is sufficient. The mind that composed this poem was not a haiku mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment