Haiku Poetry and the Concept of Wabi/Sabi

Edward A. Weiss

Visitors: 315

It may sound like a tasty sushi dish, but the concept of wabi/sabi is a Japanese idea that literally means “sweet sadness. " It's a feeling one may have when winter is approaching and you notice the change in nature's cycles. It's a feeling of impermanence that surrounds all living things on this planet. Nothing lasts and this idea finds its expression well in haiku poetry. For instance, look at this haiku poem by Bruce Ross;

winter sun. . .
the pigeons foot crackles
a dry leaf

The first line suggests the time of year and the general ambiance of the day. It is wintertime and as we all know, the sun's position and relative affect on the earth is quite different during this season. Lines two and three complete the poem and focus, quite remarkably I might add, on the activity of a pigeon. Here, the pigeon happens to walk on a dry leaf and the leaf crackles because of it.

Now, lines 2 and 3 really have no poetic effect by themselves. But, when combined with the sentence fragment “winter sun, " we get what many have called an absolute metaphor. . a snapshot if you will of a moment in time. And it is precisely this moment in time that creates the wabi/sabi affect!

Nothing lasts. Not the winter, not the sun's position, and surely, not an incident so small as the crackling of a dry leaf. Yet these seemingly small events are what life is about. To catch them is the haiku poet's job and it is done superbly in this poem. When we read this haiku as a whole, we come away with that sweet sadness that most of us have felt at one time or another. We realize that this life is only temporary and that each “small" act is a miracle in itself.

Edward Weiss is a poet, author, and publisher of Wisteria Press. He has been helping students learn how to write haiku for many years and has just released his first book “Seashore Haiku!" Visit us now at http://wisteriapress.com and get the FREE report: “How to Write Haiku!"


Article Source:

Rate this Article: 
Collection of Haiku
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes

Related Articles:

More Examples of Haiku Poetry

by: Edward A. Weiss (August 05, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Poetry)

Japanese Haiku and Western Haiku - Can They Get Along?

by: Edward A. Weiss (September 15, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment)

Haiku Class and Learning Haiku

by: Edward A. Weiss (November 13, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment)

Teachers - Poetry For Children - 8 Suggestions For Experiencing Poetry

by: Meggin McIntosh (December 24, 2008) 
(Reference and Education)

Sabi Sands All Game - African Safaris

by: Lulie Swanepoel (December 06, 2007) 
(Travel and Leisure/Outdoors)

Poetry – Can Poetry be Translated? Yes, if it's Got a Narrative

by: Ugur Akinci (March 03, 2007) 
(Arts and Entertainment)

Modern Poetry - Poetry for Everyone

by: Michelle L Devon (June 24, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Poetry)

Example of Haiku Poems

by: Edward A. Weiss (October 13, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment)

Examples of Haiku

by: Edward A. Weiss (July 26, 2006) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Poetry)

Collection of Haiku

by: Owen Johnston (November 19, 2005) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Poetry)