Entry: "EQUIVALENT" HOKKU Monday, May 14, 2007



Some time ago I wrote this summer hokku:

How cool
The call of the dove --
Midsummer rain.

Even as it is phrased, you may see that there is a kind of equivalency expressed here, and that is often found in hokku.  I could have made it more obvious by phrasing it thus:

Coolness --
The call of the dove
In midsummer rain.

This is a type of hokku that we may call "equivalent" hokku, where we see a quality expressed in one part of the verse in the other part of the verse -- "coolness" equals "midsummer rain."  It is as though we were to say, "THIS is coolness -- the call of the dove in midsummer rain."

We see the same thing in this verse of Shiki, which tells us that Shiki had not altered hokku to the point of being irredeemable, had that been possible:

Coolness --
The sea through the hole
In the stone lantern.

Equivalency is a very useful technique in hokku, and applicable to many situations.  It is one more tool that you may use in letting Nature speak through you.

 

Copyright 2007
David Coomler

 

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