News:

If you click the "Log In" button and get an error, use this URL to display the forum home page: https://thehaikufoundation.org/forum_sm/

Update any bookmarks you have for the forum to use this URL--not a similar URL that includes "www."
___________
Welcome to The Haiku Foundation forum! Some features and boards are available only to registered members who are logged in. To register, click Register in the main menu below. Click Login to login. Please use a Report to Moderator link to report any problems with a board or a topic.

Main Menu

Winter Dreams

Started by Jim Kacian, March 02, 2011, 10:44:31 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Jim Kacian

Hi, All:

Today's Per Diem offering is this, from the one-time Minister of Education of Japan:

the cat's cradle
the Eiffel Tower too
into winter
          —Akito Arima

What is the season doing in this poem? Does it help the comparison in some way for you? Does it conjure some emotional reservoir that wouldn't be available in another season? Plainly put, does the seasonal tag operate for us in English (in this instance) as the poet might have imagined it would in the poem's language of origin?

Gabi Greve

#1
Thanks a lot for sharing !




This is an Eiffel tower ayatori cat's cradle.

Gabi

http://wkdhaikutopics.blogspot.com/2007/12/buildings-tall-and-famous.html

Don Baird

#2
the cat's cradle
the Eiffel Tower too
into winter
         —Akito Arima

Winter as the kigo, in any language, is of utmost importance, in this case.  The "cat's cradle" implies the long hours of nothing to do but wrap string around fingers and learn new moves.  The kids are indoors ... not a lot to do (at least when I was a kid ) and in hunting for something to do, the strings came out.  In Spring, kids were out playing ... getting free from the indoor blues.  Their energy was high and different than in Winter.  Not all locations are the same however ie:  Bahamas (is there a winter?) :) ... but for those in a rough winter area, L3 will ring much louder as Winter than any other time of the year.  When I was in Wyoming, as a kid, we literally could not go outside for days and longer.  It was horrible weather.  My brother and I would end up nagging at each other or playing games! Strings was one of them ... even for boys!

While the word "winter" alone might not surface all of the aspects the Japanese poets would reflect on, it does, especially combined with L1/2, absolutely reach deep into the memories and feelings of folks who were of the generation that played strings instead of video games.  

For me, winter combined with the other factors in this poem, will resonate wonderfully in any language.  

Three operative words (or sets of) in this poem:  cat's cradle (game and shape);  Eiffel Tower (and the implication of its shapes, location and weather);  and winter.  Combined, they resonate together in a vibrant and effective way ... in English.  I don't speak Japanese, so I'm not sure what else someone of their culture would receive from this haiku. It does seem that the poet was reminded of all of this when he was visiting the Eiffel Tower or possibly after seeing a picture of it etc.  Something sent his mind into the journey of the game.

This reminds me of an old comment I made off the cuff when describing the activity of the fragment and phrase:  when you wave one hand in the air, not much sound;  when you wave the other, not much sound;  when you wave them both and bang in the middle, the sound of a clap! The fragment and phrase here inspire many thoughts and memories for me - the clap! ... a third aspect created by the two being combined.  

Thanks for sharing, Jim.

Don

I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

sandra

Good work Don, such a lot explained.

My small contribution is that with the trees bare in winter the Eiffel Tower really stands out and is something like a denuded tree in its starkness.

Of course, it always looks like that, but in the other seasons (and from a distance) the trees do much to soften the bold lines of the steel and the base isn't necessarily visible from everywhere.

Mary Stevens

Thanks, all, for the satisfying question and responses. Once Gabi sent the picture, I realized that the poet literally meant the string game we used to play (I was thinking it might be a place name I was unaware of). Don's response is pretty much where my train of thought went after seeing the picture.

The season in the poem, for me, creates a kind of reverberation between the confined indoor space and  small activity and the magnificent structure out in open space in bracing cold air—but with the snow closing in. I alternately feel free and claustrophobic. (It doesn't help that it's early March and I live in New York state!).

The seasonal piece of the poem definitely works for me. If there were something other than the seasonal reference in line 3, the poem might risk saying only, "Hey! The cat's cradle looks like the Eiffel Tower." That would be amusing for about 3 seconds but leave no lingering emotional flavor.

If it were a season other than winter, there wouldn't be that tension created by the indoorsness of the cat's cradle. Kids simply would not be playing that game outside. They'd be engaging in more exuberant, whole-body activity. Especially in spring, which I am now very much longing for after having read the poem! Dang, I thought I had that cabin fever thing in check.

Mary
"A word that breathes distinctly
Has not the power to die..."

            —Emily Dickinson

Gabi Greve

Thank you all for this interesting thread, Don, you are quite an interpreter of things !

As for the season word, in Japanese it is more than just WINTER.
It is an expression consisting of a noun, a postposition and a verb, fuyu ni iru

entering winter, fuyu ni iru 冬に入る(ふゆにいる) the winter season begins

In another thread, we had the end of a season.

Each change of a season brings a mixed bag of feelings, some people are happy it is over and look forward to the new, some would like it to last a bit longer ... all can be expressed in kigo.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons in Japan and many look forward to their coming.

So as not to overload this, here is a link to more
http://wkdkigodatabase03.blogspot.com/2007/09/seasons-beginning.html


あやとりのエッフェル塔も冬に入る
ayatori no efferutoo mo fuyu ni iru

the Eiffel tower
(which looks like) a cat's cradle (pattern)
also begins the winter season

(paraverse by Gabi)
.

the cat's cradle
the Eiffel Tower too
into winter
         
—Akito Arima


.

Don Baird

Quote from: Mary Stevens on March 05, 2011, 11:07:23 PM

The season in the poem, for me, creates a kind of reverberation between the confined indoor space and  small activity and the magnificent structure out in open space in bracing cold air—but with the snow closing in. I alternately feel free and claustrophobic. (It doesn't help that it's early March and I live in New York state!).


This is an excellent point, Mary!  You've nailed an important aspect to the poem right on the head!  Good eye!

Don
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Mary Stevens

"A word that breathes distinctly
Has not the power to die..."

            —Emily Dickinson

Peter Yovu

#8
The reader (at least this reader) as co-creator of the poem, offers this subscript:

the cat's cradle
and the Eiffel Tower  
become snowflakes

Experience begins in the body (as does language)-- it is a continual surprise to me how seldom we relate to these poems as bodily experience, as here, perhaps, feeling the cold steel of the E T as a skeleton-- our own skeleton, into winter. Or to be more accurate, how seldom we express the bodily experience, what happens, on that level, when we read the poem. For me, it is the entry point and the place of communion.

Edit: last two sentences added.

Don Baird

Quote from: Peter Yovu on March 06, 2011, 01:05:15 PM
The reader (at least this reader) as co-creator of the poem, offers this subscript:

the cat's cradle
and the Eiffel Tower  
become snowflakes

Experience begins in the body (as does language)-- it is a continual surprise to me how seldom we relate to these poems as bodily experience, as here, perhaps, feeling the cold steel of the E T as a skeleton-- our own skeleton, into winter. Or to be more accurate, how seldom we express the bodily experience, what happens, on that level, when we read the poem. For me, it is the entry point and the place of communion.

Edit: last two sentences added.

Excellent toughts, Peter.  Thanks.  The bodily experience is an interesting perspective in relation to this poem of which I'll put some time in pondering.  I enjoyed your post.

Don
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

Mary Stevens

Peter, I'm intrigued by your comment on how
Quotewe express the bodily experience, what happens, on that level, when we read the poem. For me, it is the entry point and the place of communion.

I'd like to hear more about what you mean by this. Would you be willing to show what you experience bodily for a couple-few other poems?

Thanks,

Mary
"A word that breathes distinctly
Has not the power to die..."

            —Emily Dickinson

Peter Yovu

Mary, I'll come back to this later. Thanks for asking.

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk