Withered branches

Lesson about the CUT, cause and effect


枯れ枝や 朝日に光る白い苔
kareeda ya asahi ni hikaru shiroi koke

withered branches -
their white moss sparkles
in the morning sun

asa no hi ya kareeda ni hikaru shiroi koke

morning sunshine -
white moss sparkles
on withered branches

NO CUTTING WORD ... NO Japanese Equivalent
just for the sake of this exercise, using an inversion of line 2 and 3 which I do not favour in my haiku.

morning sunshine
on withered branches
the white moss sparkles


We had long planned to cut this old three, whith its few bare branches sticking into the sky. But this morning, I decided to let him stand there as long as he was given time by nature ...

........................... a bit of Haiku theory

According to Hasegawa Kai sensei, the working of the cut is to bring out the relation between cause and effect. Cause is the happening NOW. Effect (something lingering in my mind plus CUT ) pops up.
in a good haiku, say what is still remaining in your heart first (with a CUTTING word). Meaning, the result, the effect is stated first, then the cause, the reason for what triggered this now.

I saw the white sparkle first, then the sunshine came into mind.

The third example has no Japanese equivalent.
The English reader might read a pause after line one or two, or maybe pivot ... theories are many.

Still struggeling with the CUT.
The lesson is going on till April of 2009, so there will be more theory !

Kireji, the CUT in haiku !

Read my Haiku Archives 2007



Anonymous said...

Ahh... Great teaching!!
Wonderful examples...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this teaching with us, Gabi.
I don't think I have ever fully understood the use of the cut and the space between the parts of a haiku, though I do have a strong sense of the importance of pause and timing when reading aloud.

I assume the reading while breathing in you speak of would have to be silent reading. I don't see how it would work in reading aloud.

(who also has trouble with the 'one breath fits all' concept; for those of us who sometimes have breathing problems, it doesn't)


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