Seasonal Interludes

The seasons reflect change, growth, and evolution; they express perfectly how nature and human nature changes over the course of time. Haiku connects to the subtleties of movement and flow as we shift from season to season. A seasonal word called a kigo or a reference to the season is what makes a haiku true to its Japanese origins. The seasonal word anchors the poem and connects it to nature so beautifully, allowing something that is considered to be small to gain a life of its own and become something more. 

 Images of nature is what links haiku to the cosmic cycle of seasons and of life. Some North American haiku poets don’t use a seasonal word or reference which can still make it true to form but changes the energy of it. There are a few extensive kigo lists of seasonal words available online.

Modern Haiku

Modern Haiku, An Independent Journal of Haiku and Haiku Studies) 

*Beyond the Haiku Moment: Basho, Buson and Modern Haiku myths 

by Haruo Shirane 

 *In Basho’s day, seasonal words stood in the shape of a huge pyramid. At the top were the big five, which had been at the core of classical poetry (the 31-syllable waka): the cuckoo (hototogisu) for summer, the cherry blossoms for spring, the snow for winter, the bright autumn leaves and the moon for autumn.

What have you learned about the seasons through haiku?

By opening our hearts to the natural rhythm of the world around us, we connect more deeply to nature and the seasons. What I love about the seasons and haiku is how they represent the ever-changing cycles that remind us to be in the moment, where the past and the future begins to melt away. With each seasonal shift you have the opportunity to tap into your own inner rhythm and connect within through the magic of nature.


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