Friday, April 12, 2013

Butterfly Dream: Oystercatcher Haiku by Nola Borrell

English Original

cold wind
every oystercatcher

The Enormous Picture

Nola Borrell

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Nola Borrell has had haiku published in New Zealand and overseas since the mid 1990s, and has won various awards. Her work has appeared in NZ journals and anthologies, Australia, US, UK, Croatia, Slovenia, Roumania, Japan and Algeria and online. Nola co-edited (with Karen P Butterworth) the taste of nashi - New Zealand Haiku (Windrift, 2008). Her chapbook this wide sky was published in 2012 (Puriri Press). Nola is a member of Zazen, an international haiku workshop.

1 comment:

  1. In the haiku, Nola skillfully makes a structural allusion to the famous haiku by James W. Hackett:

    A bitter morning:
    Sparrows sitting together
    Without any necks.

    Most importantly, every "headless" oystercatcher is not sitting, but preying upon "limpets, mussels, gastropods, and chitons ..echinoderms, fish, and crabs."

    Below is an excerpt from Charles Trumbull's Frogpond articles, entitled Shangri-La: James W. Hackett’s Life in Haiku, which can be accessed at

    In any event, prompted by a desire to travel to Japan and meet R.H. Blyth, Hackett entered the JAL contest. The now-iconic haiku that was the National Winner was one he had not originally intended to submit, but was suggested by his wife: [16]

    A bitter morning:
    Sparrows sitting together
    Without any necks.

    As we noted before, this haiku had been published a year earlier in American Haiku 1:1 (1963) in a more succinct (and, in my opinion, superior) version:

    Bitter morning
    sparrows sitting
    without necks.

    It also appeared in Blyth’s book in this version, but printed in small caps. Curiously, the text of this haiku that was included in Hackett’s collection Haiku Poetry (1964) was the prizewinning version but with the Blyth-style indentations and small caps. Over the years at least seven versions, mostly with slight formatting or punctuation changes, have appeared.


    16. James W. Hackett. “Why I Entered the 1964 Japan Airlines Contest.” Kô autumn–winter 1992, 20.