Carpe Diem #942 Thorn
In this episode, Thorn, it’s about the haiku writing technique used by Basho in the following haiku:
folly in darkness
grasping a thorn
instead of a firefly
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
In the words of Kristjaan ,our host,
“This not a wellknown haiku by the master, but it’s a nice one to look closer at. In this haiku Basho used a writing technique which was very common in waka-poetry. It was also the basis for the maekuzuki or “capping verse”. This technique works by setting up a sitiuation and leading the reader to believe the author is going to relate a certain situation. In the middle of the verse the writer’s thinking makes a turn or, as this haiku writing technique is called, a twist and force the reader’s mind into a completely different situation. Basho had studied the old waka anthologies and was therefore very familiar with this technique.
In the above haiku the “twist” is in the attention for “grasping a thorn”. The reader’s mind thinks “the following line will be about the wound”, but than there is the “twist” “a firefly”.
Because fireflies appear in the time of the evening when lovers meet, they have the connotation of helping lovers find each other. Thus, the reader is led to think “thorn” is a euphemism, but the addition of the third line swings the poem back around into another situation.’
following the path of the master, Basho ; here is my attempt for this ” a twist in the tale ” technique –
when I wake up
near the lake shore
photo ( my pic )