11:02 pm
29 May 2023

The beauty of a Haiku

Haiku is in its core a scene; and, it, in turn, is a combination of images. As such, it can become very complex depending on how the relationships among them are crafted. The very well-known haiku from Basho: “The old pond- a frog jumps in, sound of water”, presents a combination of two elements and a third one as effect of the interconnection of those two in the present. A new gestalt is born, resulting in the combination of several images to give rise to a unique and summarizing scene. The haijin’s ability to achieve this, is what, together with his inspiration and poetic depth, will give rise to one highly achieved haiku due to its shortness and expressing a new sense to seemingly simple everyday events. Haiku is, in a way, that fourth dimension of reality that human beings have always wanted from the world. And if the haijin can capture it, this renews our mundane consciousness, which will broaden to make room for a different vision of the universe we inhabit. Many have insisted in the fact that true haiku is that which causes “satori”, meaning the “awakening” of Buddhist consciousness. Something like a lightning illuminating for the first time that which human mind has disregarded, omitted or distorted.

Another aspect related to haiku is whether it is convenient to use punctuation marks and capital letters on them. The current tendency in English written haiku is to avoid doing so. This is due to the fact that, on the one hand, Japanese traditional haiku is written in pictograms that do not have any punctuation marks or capital letters. On the other hand, on the XX century many modernist poets came to lose their use too, influenced by the new aesthetic tendencies, as is the case of E.E. Cummings. Also, English speaking haijins consider that introducing capital letters and punctuation marks is, in a way, closing the haiku to the possibility of imaginative interpretation by the reader. This is because when using commas, for example, a pause is produced, and when using periods, a closing is produced. And the use of capital letters would give importance to a particular word, when in the opinion of these haijins, haiku needs to be homogeneous in its presentation and does not need to emphasize any specific word, so that it is filled with the lightness that characterizes it. In Spanish written haiku, currently, many haijins have opted for using punctuation marks and/or capital letters. In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that in general a haiku is not titled, as it is considered that everything needs to be enclosed in the haiku itself, following always the tendency not to highlight any of its elements.

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