On the Rough Road is a collection of haiku that I first put together in 2016 following a series of prompts on ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’ based on Matsuo Basho’s ‘Oku no hosimichi’ (Narrow road to the Deep North)
Recently, I redesigned and edited the chapbook and though it seemed to take forever, it was a nostalgic walk through old haiku and haibun I had written, giving me fresh insight into my state of mind and writing style, then – and now.
Over the years, I’ve surely learnt a thing or two, but also lost something. I don’t entirely know what that is, but I believe some of my best haiku are in this little chapbook. For more details, check this link.
honey glazed sky spring recites the secret poems of dawn
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘Sense Switching‘ or ‘Synesthesia’ technique in which the poet presents an unexpected or different sensory aspect of the object. “..closely associating a sensory experience of one kind with a sensory experience of another..” -Toshimi Horiuchi
Basho writes: pine and cedar to admire the wind smell the sound
the sea darkens — a wild duck’s call faintly white
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘Pseudo Science‘ technique which is not merely a distorted view of science presented with poetic license but a valid thought process in the “other reality” that exists in the poet’s mind. “…what we see or experience there is so real that we report it as a normal phenomenon. Thus my name “pseudo-science..” – Jane Reichhold
Basho writes: a falling sound that sours my ears plum rain
all of infinity in an infinitesimal double helix waiting…
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘Paradox” technique which encourages the reader to ponder about the juxtaposition of two incongruous realities. “..one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion…” – Søren Kierkegaard
Basho writes: black forest whatever you may say a morning of snow
in this churn of sky and sea and time from whom will the mind learn stillness?
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘riddle” technique that tries not to posture as intriguing rhetoric but to trigger, like a Zen Koan, philosophical introspection. An old classic is “ “Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man or a man dreaming I am a butterfly?”
Basho writes: has spring come or the year gone away? second last day
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘Narrowing Focus” technique in which you start with a wide-angle lens for the 1st line, switch to a normal lens for the 2nd and zoom in for a close up for the 3rd line, drawing the reader to a single basic element of the haiku.
Basho writes: old village not a house without a persimmon tree
blurred evening the rain dissolves the colours in the sky
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘Sketch’ or ‘Shasei” technique, strongly advocated by Masaoka Shiki, which requires the scene to be depicted exactly as it is without riddles, pun or rhyme.
Basho writes: early autumn the sea and rice fields one green
melancholy the empty park bench and the winter sun
For CDHK where we learn Basho’s ‘association’ technique – a method of relating distinct things through new and apt associations.
Basho writes: hating flowers the mouths of talkative people and the wind bag