A while back there was a controversy on the Haiku Now Facebook page. I wrote a poem about a spider slipping on ice. Quickly, someone said you didn’t see that, that was a desk haiku and the debate began!
Contributors admonished me so thoroughly for this egregious act that even I was convinced I had done wrong.
The mob with sticks had cornered my little poem.
But what if I told you that Basho never saw that famous frog? He never saw that old pond!?
That’s right! I just read that in an essay from the book Poems of Consciousness by Richard Gilbert. In this essay entitled, Basho’s Old Pond, Realism and Junk Haiku, that is exactly what is said.
“Therefore, we can say that this ku is not consecutive, and on the contrary has a break within it — there are two different levels, two different elements, intermixed.
“So, Basho neither saw an old pond nor a frog…
“Examining these two ideas leads to the conclusion that Basho was listening to the frogs-jumping-into-water-sound, and then he imaged an old pond. This means he was listening to sounds of frogs jumping into water, and a vision of an old pond arose in his mind.”
So if the most famous haiku in the world was a desk haiku, how do you feel about desk ku?
Is it a fine idea or a no-no?