Friday, January 25, 2013

Butterfly Dream: Poppy Haiku by Michael McClintock

English Original

       a poppy . . .
   a field of poppies!
the hills blowing with poppies!

Haiku Magazine, V.5, N1, 1971

Michael McClintock

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

    一朵罌粟花 ...
   一大片罌粟花 !
   滿山坡罌粟花 !

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

    一朵罂粟花 ...
 一大片罂粟花 !
 满山坡罂粟花 !

Bio Sketch

Michael McClintock's lifework in haiku, tanka, and related literature spans over four decades. His many contributions to the field include six years as president of the Tanka Society of America (2004-2010) and contributing editor, essayist, and poet for dozens of journals, anthologies, landmark collections and critical studies. McClintock now lives in Clovis, California, where he works as an independent scholar, consultant for public libraries, and poet. Meals at Midnight [tanka], Sketches from the San Joaquin [haiku] and Streetlights: Poetry of Urban Life in Modern English Tanka, are some of his recent titles.


  1. Technically speaking, the combined use of lexical parallelism and the zooming (in/out) technique makes this one-object haiku emotionally effective.

    Note: Michael zooms in to get the close-up view of a poppy and then zooms out to see the hills covered with blooming poppies.

    For more information regarding the relationship between cinematic techniques and haiku writing, see my Haiku reality essay, Haiku as Ideogrammatic Montage:A Linguistic-Cinematic Perspective, which can be accessed at

    The film-frame can never be an inflexible letter of the alphabet, but must always remain a multiple-meaning. And it can be read only in juxtaposition, just as an ideogram acquires its specific significance, meaning, and even pronunciation only when combined with a separately indicated reading or tiny meaning – an indicator for the exact reading – placed alongside the basic hieroglyph…From our point of view, [haiku] are montage phrases. Shot lists.

    -- Sergei Eisenstein

  2. Entering the Chinese text into google translate it come back as

    A poppy flower ...
    A large poppy spend!
    Full terrain poppy!

    I like the original - the element of surprise and more surprise

    A full terrain poppy is an interesting concept.

    I have been enjoying you site.


  3. Tom:

    Your machine-translated "haiku" reminds me of Robert Frost "cunning remark:" that poetry is what is lost in the translation.

    " I like the original - the element of surprise and more surprise "

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    My poetry blog, Poetry in the Moment, can be accessed at

    Thanks for your interest in my project.