“The haiku captures a fleeting moment. Of great beauty, or heartbreak. A moment that, hmm,… encapsulates the essence of a season. Such as the fragrance of blossoming cherries, or the sound of snow, or the feel of hot summer wind blowing the bamboo.”
Mizu no oto.
Then, a crude translation of the words alone:
Frog leaps in:
She then re-shaped it to carry the classical haiku 5/7/5 arrangement into English:
Dark, mossy old pond—
Lively frog leaps from the bank:
The sound of water.
Each chapter of Dreaming Spies begins with a haiku that has something to do with that chapter. I am no poet—the most I can claim is that they all fit the 5/7/5 format. But I like the idea of a short and intense piece of imagery that stays with the mind, and anyone who doesn’t care for haiku can easily let their eye go past the chapter head to the print below.
But, I wanted to do something more with the form. And I had been talking to Random House about doing something for Indie booksellers, and it occurred to me that I could justify this bit of fun with some illustrated haiku by telling myself it was For Them. So I wrote a new haiku couplet about the book itself rather than just a chapter. And I asked my artist friend Jean Lukens (more from her when we talk about the book’s map) to do me a color piece to frame a pair of haiku.
But I didn’t want to just put the bare, typed, English poems into the frame: I wanted Japanese. And fortunately, I had another friend…
(More about “Dreaming Haiku” later, but in the meantime, if you’d like to win one of the above posters, check out the Haiku contest here.)
My upcoming events are here.