Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Butterfly Dream: Swifts Haiku by John Kinory

English Original

between the cypress and the bell-tower
the cold blue sliced by swifts

Modern Haiku, 37:1, Winter/Spring 2006

John Kinory

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

John Kinory is a translator and photographer, and former physics teacher. His work has been published extensively in haiku, tanka and general poetry journals worldwide. He is the founder and editor of Ardea, the multilingual short-form poetry journal. He lives in England.


  1. John's "single-object/scene" (ichibutsu shitate) haiku is visually riveting, and it "flows smoothly from start to finish, without the leap or gap found in the composition poem" ("Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho," p. 111).

    And this symbolically rich and evocative phrase, "the cold blue," adds emotional weight to the poem.

    For more info. about ichibutsu shitate, See "To the Lighthouse: Ichibutsu Shitate (One-Image/Object/Topic Haiku), " which can be accessed at http://neverendingstoryhaikutanka.blogspot.ca/2015/01/to-lighthouse-ichibutsu-shitate-one.html

  2. In Kyoraisho, Kyorai notes:

    The Master said: “A hokku that moves smoothly from the opening five syllables to the end is a superb verse.”

    Shado remarked: “The Master once told me, ‘The hokku is not, as you believe, something that brings together two or three different things. Compose the hokku so that it flows like gold being hit and flattened by a hammer …”

    Kyorai: “If a poet composes by combining separate things, he can compose many verses and compose them quickly. Beginning poets should know this. But when one becomes an accomplished poet, it is no longer a question of combining or not combining …” (Ibid., p. 111)

    Technically speaking, ichibutsu shitate (one-image/object/topic haiku) are more challenging to compose because the poet must employ various rhetorical devices/literary techniques to “create enough internal contrast presented within the image to make it a haiku, rather than a poetic fragment" (Kocher, p.6)