Thursday, September 25, 2014

Butterfly Dream: Tall Grass Haiku by kjmunro

English Original

tall grass a hand drowning in snow waves

Honorable Mention, 2014 Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition


Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch:

Born & raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, kjmunro moved to the Yukon Territory in 1991. She has recently joined the Executive of Haiku Canada, & her chapbook, summer evening, is available through Leaf Press as number ten in their oak leaflet series.


  1. Below is excerpted from "Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition for 2014," Modern Haiku, 45:2, Summer 2014, p. 8:

    In this one-line haiku the choice of words presents an atypical image of heavy snowfall early in the season. The allusion to Stevie Smith's poem, "Not Waving But Drowning" gives this haiku an added depth.

  2. Not Waving but Drowning
    By Stevie Smith

    Nobody heard him, the dead man,
    But still he lay moaning:
    I was much further out than you thought
    And not waving but drowning.

    Poor chap, he always loved larking
    And now he’s dead
    It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
    They said.

    Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
    (Still the dead one lay moaning)
    I was much too far out all my life
    And not waving but drowning.

    Stevie Smith, “Not Waving but Drowning” from Collected Poems of Stevie Smith. Copyright © 1972 by Stevie Smith. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

  3. "In this one-line haiku the choice of words presents an atypical image of heavy snowfall early in the season." -- Roberta Beary, judge,

    Technically speaking, there is cutting between "tall grass" and "a hand drowning in snow waves." The contrasts between the two parts ("tall grass" and "snow waves") of the poem are visually and psychologically effective.

    Type II Formulation:

    ....Later in the seventeenth century when Danrin poets formulated their ideas about kireji, the discussion might be presented in terms of Yin-Yang metaphysics or simply in terms of a discrimination set up within a hokku between a "this" opposed to a "that." A work from 1680 put it in a refreshingly slangy way:

    The kireji is that which clearly expresses a division of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang mean the existence of an interesting confrontation within a poem (okashiku ikku no uchi ni arasoi aru o iu nari). For instance, something or other presented in a hokku is that?-no, it's not that but this, etc. 46

    Eisenstein, circa 1929, would have replaced Yin with thesis and Yang with antithesis and cast the whole matter in the mold of his peculiar dialectic, but he would certainly have gone along with this Japanese poet's notion of arasoi, "confrontation." "By what, then, is montage characterized and, consequently, its cell -- the shot?" he asked himself in "The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram." "By collision. By the conflict of two pieces in opposition to each other. By conflict. By collision." And the phrases of hokku were, he insisted, "montage phrases," and hence they generated their meaning by a like dynamic process. 47

    For more info. about cutting, see "To the Lighthouse: Three Formulations about the Use of Cutting,"