Entry: "ALSO / EVEN" HOKKU Thursday, May 17, 2007



Adding to the variety of hokku types, there is one we might call "Also / Even." Such verses rely on the use of the words "also" "too," or "even" to achieve a certain effect. We see this in Buson's verse:

Tilling the field,
My house too is seen
As darkness falls.

And in this verse by Issa:

Evening cherry blossoms;
Today also is now part
Of the past.

It was even used by Shiki, who began the changes that nearly destroyed hokku:

Even the paths
Are deep in grass;
A stone Jiz˘.

(Jiz˘ is that smooth-headed bodhisattva with a staff, very popular as one who protects deceased children and saves from suffering.)

This use of "even," "also," or "too" gives a feeling of things being connected, of something being part of a greater whole, not excepted. It was used long before Shiki in the waka of Saigyo:

Even in the mind
Of the mindless one,
Sadness appears
When a snipe rises in the marsh
On an autumn evening.

 

Copyright 2007
David Coomler

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