Sunday, July 13, 2014

Butterfly Dream: Eucharist of Rain Haiku by Carole Johnston

English Original

I drive                          
into a eucharist
of rain

Bright Stars, 1, 2014

Carole Johnston

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Carole Johnston has been writing Japanese short form poetry for five years and has published  haiku and tanka in various print and online journals. Her first chapbook, Journeys: Getting Lost, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Retired from teaching, she drives around writing poems about landscape. Visit her on Twitter (@morganabag) to read more of her poetry.


  1. Technically speaking, this is a good example of "Ichibutsu Shitate" (one-scene/image/theme/object haiku), a "single-object poem, which [focuses] on a single topic and in which the [haiku flows] smoothly from start to finish, without leap or gap found in the "composition poem" (that reads a poem with two juxtaposed images/topics...) (Haruo Shirane, Traces of Dreams Traces of Dreams Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho, p. 111).

    In Carole's well-crafted haiku, L3 holds the surprise of the poem.

    And thematically/theologically speaking, read in the context of Pentecostalism (especially, of the Latter Rain Movement), the rain in L3, which signifies the pouring out God's spirit, adds spiritual/religious depth to the poem, gaining added poignancy.

  2. I really enjoyed Carole's haiku, Chen-ou.

    As a Roman Catholic, I found line 2 particularly striking as 'eucharist' immediately made me think of the consecrated host, or bread, that is served during the sacrament of communion and I wondered how one could drive into this. But when combined with line 3, I considered how driving into a downpour might introduce the notion of being immersed in or communing with nature.

    I also found your explanation of the term 'Ichibutsu Shitate' very interesting as I had never come across it before. Without this information I might have mistaken the haiku as a run-on sentence and I'm not sure I would know the difference.


  3. Marion:

    I'll publish a "To the Lighthouse" post to provide the aesthetic and historical context of 'Ichibutsu Shitate' and haiku examples.

    As for the poem, I wonder if a new verb, "walk," might work better "drive."

    Thanks for your close reading and for sharing your thought.