Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Butterfly Dream: Frozen Frog Haiku by Jane Reichhold

English Original

pond ripples
heartbeat of a frozen frog
warms again

American Haiku in Four Seasons

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She has had over thirty books of her haiku, renga, tanka, and translations published. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home has been translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane has also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, Geppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she has co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she has maintained an online forum – AHAforum. She lives near Gualala , California with Werner, her husband, and a Bengal cat named Buddha.


  1. Juxtaposed with "pond ripples," "heartbeat" of a frozen frog/ "warms" again works well on two levels, literal and metaphoric. Jane's beautifully-crafted two-axis poem could be read as a response haiku to Buson's below, a parodically allusive one that opens up a window into the lamentable situation of the eighteenth century haikau community (For more info., see "Poetic Musings: Contextualized Reading of Buson’s Frog Haiku,"

    Inheriting one of our ancestor’s verses

    the old pond's
    frog is growing elderly
    fallen leaves

    Note: As Haruo Shirane demonstrates in his book titled "Traces of Dreams," Basho believed that “the poet had to work along both axes: to work only in the present would result in poetry that was fleeting; to work just in the past, on the other hand, would be to fall out of touch with the fundamental nature of haikai, which was rooted in the everyday world.”

  2. First of all, semantically speaking, the above poem is made up of two parts that are separated by a kireji (cutting word), kana. The first part is that in the old pond there is an aging frog, whose honi (poetic essence) is “suggestive of spring,… [implying] vigor and youth.” 3 The second part introduces the reader to the scene fallen leaves, whose honi refers to winter. 4

    Secondly, technically speaking, Buson employs the puzzle-solving technique to hold the reader in suspense in the first part of the poem (a supposedly youthful and energetic frog is getting old), and he solves the puzzle in the second part through shifting the scene to a winter setting where the seemingly disparate elements of the poem suddenly make sense: the frog is approaching old age, hibernating under fallen leaves that cover the ice in an old pond. 5


    View the full text of Poetic Musings: Contextualized Reading of Buson’s Frog Haiku,"