Lighting the darkness

Once again I am not sure if I have grasped the subtleties of the haiku writing technique Chevrefeuille has presented in his weekly writing challenge Carpe Diem – haiku writing techniques    This week he introduces us to the shasei technique created by the haiku poet Shiki (1867-1902), the haiku poet who brought haiku it’s name and brought haiku into the 20th century:-

‘Come spring as of old.
When such revenues of rice.
Braced this castle town!

© Masaoka Shiki
It’s a good example of this shasei technique. What is the shasei technique? Let me try to explain that to you all with the help of Jane Reichhold.
Though this technique is often given Shiki’s term Shasei (sketch from life) or Shajitsu (reality), it has been in use since the beginning of poetry in the Orient. The poetic principle is “to depict the thing just as it is”. The reason Shiki took it up as a poetical cause, and this made it famous,  was his own rebellion against the many other techniques used in haiku. Shiki was, by nature it seemed, against whatever was the status quo – a true rebel.  Shiki was, by nature it seemed, against whatever was the status quo – a true rebel. If older poets had overused any idea or method, it was his personal goal to point this out and suggest something else. This was followed until someone else got tired of it and suggested something new. This seems to be the way poetry styles go in and out of fashion.
Thus, Shiki hated associations, contrasts, comparisons, wordplays, puns, and riddles – all the things we are cherishing here! He favored the quiet simplicity of just stating what he saw without anything else happening in the haiku. He found the greatest beauty in the common sight, simply reported exactly as it was seen, and ninety-nine percent of his haiku written in his style. Many people still feel he was right. There are some moments that are perhaps best said as simply as possible in his way. Yet, Shiki himself realized in 1893, after writing very many haiku in this style, that used too much, even his new idea could become lackluster. So the method is an answer, but never the complete answer of how to write a haiku.’

Here’s my attempt –

super moon


Of course, being something of a rebel myself, I find it hard to stick to the rules.   Although the haiku I have written here can be taken at face value it also has another layer of meaning.   This week’s super full moon was the third in row and the last one for 2015.   It occurred in the astrological sign of Taurus directly opposite the sun in Scorpio.   Scorpio rules what is hidden beneath the surface.   This full moon gives us an opportunity to see this shadow self more clearly.   By going within we have the opportunity to embrace those parts of ourselves that have been denied and bring them into the light of consciousness.   Taurus rules beauty, rest, harmony and earthly pleasures.    Releasing old repressed energies and allowing the mind and body to rest and rejuvenate is supported over the full moon period and the following few days.


17 thoughts on “Lighting the darkness

  1. Beautiful Haiku.. Suzanne and I agree with your deeper meaning and thanks for reminding me about the fact it is the third Supermoon this year.. As above so below all things and meaning interconnected for those who see more of all that is.. There is no rule in life that need be hidden in the eyes of all that is AKA God.. Smiles..:)

  2. That is a lovely picture and poem. I thought the same as Bjorn at first so I read it again and realized it can also express that when one ‘shines’ or maybe comes to full potential there is no hiding it. Very uplifting.

  3. First, excellent post & haiku. Beautifully constructed.

    Well I guess I get to play contrarian & rebel. 😀

    Second, to the shasei technique, I will quote a common meme that has has been making the rounds, “Nope, nope, nope”. Consider, “to depict the thing just as it is”. Depict means construct, create and thereby introduce context. All media constructs a reality based on values, beliefs and ideologies. So when composing a photograph or a haiku, there is no “just as it is”, there is always value added. 🙂 There is always emotional content and conceptual context added to the message by both the sender and the receiver .

    Now, if the haiku poet Shiki means reduce the number of literary devices/codes and conventions because he felt they were being over used and hence cliche, then no problem. 🙂

    1. I think that is exactly what Shiki intended. There is more information about him on Carpe Diem. I did enjoy your critique. It is utterly post modern. Of course we always bring our own emotions and conceptual framework to everything we do and read.
      I have been craving a bit of post modern discourse this week. It is so refreshing to read your insights. Thanks.

  4. Wonderfull shasei Suzanne … you have described a scene as it occurs nothing less nothing more. I like your astrological explanation. It makes this haiku a very strong one … a masterpiece. Chapeau!

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