“Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves. It is in” our hearts “that the life of nature’s spectacle exists; to see it, one must feel it.” Jean Jacques Rousseau
During Covid19 there has been somewhat of a renaissance back towards nature. People are appreciating nature, understanding and wanting to preserve nature, needing to get out into it, sense it and bring it into their homes.
This week I attended a webinar SHARING STORIES FROM NATURE – A LISTENING SPACE co-hosted by Network of Wellbeing and The Heart Movement. Reflecting on our experiences around nature during this year common threads emerged. Many are taking more time to get to know the places where they are living. By slowing down we are noticing more through being in tune with the changing seasons. We are discovering new places and paths, also rediscovering old places and paths. Some are embracing new ways to be in nature alongside walking such as gardening, cycling and swimming. Connecting with others in nature is enhancing friendships and family bonds. Gratitude and respect is felt alongside an awareness of both the nurturing and destructive sides to nature. We are feeling uplifted by seeing resilience in nature.
Traditional haiku embraces the natural world focusing on directness and intensity to create a vivid impact in 3 lines. Crucially it involves a Kigo or Season Word; alongside a Kire or Cutting Word that allows the shift from one contrasting image to another. Basho’s famous haiku, with notably numerous and contradictory translations, uses FROG as its Season Word (indicative of Spring) and POND as the Cutting Word.
The old pond; Furu ike ya
A frog jumps in — kawazu tobikomu
The sound of the water mizu no oto
Modern haiku has taken on some of its traditional haiku roots but mirroring other literary forms has adapted with the times. On THE DAILY HAIKU after a suggestion to offer a SEASON WORD by Eric McLachlan and a poll to see how this might work we will now offer a Weekly Season Word. This will allow those who want to Kigo to do so whether as traditionalists or modernists and those who want to see the Season Word as another theme to also engage around a desire to engage in nature.
Season words or Kigo once followed a strict format and there are whole dictionaries dedicated to terms that can be used. But of course our perceptions and experiences of nature are now very different compared to hundreds of years ago, or even a hundred years ago. Also we live in a global world where seasons shift at different times. Season words may now involve city life and living, climate change and personal, more senryu-like perspectives on seasons.
A Season word can, no matter your approach, focus the mind on the nature around us and perhaps feel more in touch by expressing our thoughts condensed into writing haiku but also sketching, photographing and collecting natural items too. It can also allow us to recall experiences from other times or imagine places we might want to visit. In the SHARING STORIES FROM NATURE webinar we were encouraged to bring an item from nature into the session which we were able to talk about and these sensory touchstones initiated deeper reflections.
It would be good to build up our own compendium of SEASON WORDS so do please include your suggestions here by connecting to your own observations of the seasons around you and wider details including weather conditions, plants, food, wildlife, traditions and celebrations.
ALAN SUMMERS: More Than One Fold in the Paper: Kire, Kigo, and the vertical axis of meaning in haiku
The British Haiku Society: Resource on How to Haiku ‘The Heart of Haiku’ Series The British Haiku Society
A Dictionary of Haiku Classified by Season Words with Traditional and Modern Methods by Jane Reichhold with haiku https://www.ahapoetry.com/aadoh/adofinde.htm
Five Hundred Essential Season Words http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html?source=post_page—————————&fbclid=IwAR3ldyJRORX-NOF-Q5uPUiOtzgWctNtLqzKMue8LffBe0cSuvdiV1aLCzFA
Network of Wellbeing https://networkofwellbeing.org @NetwrkWellbeing