Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Butterfly Dream: Darkness Haiku by Susan Constable

English Original

the darkness
inside an open peony
morning shadows

Presence, 42, 2010

Susan Constable

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Susan Constable’s tanka appear in numerous journals and anthologies, including Take Five. Her tanka collection, The Eternity of Waves, was one of the winning entries in the eChapbook Awards for 2012. She is currently the tanka editor for the international on-line journal, A Hundred Gourds.

1 comment:

  1. Technically speaking, Susan's haiku is a good example of utilizing the Japanese concept of arasoi, "confrontation:" darkness / open peony and morning / shadows. And on a second reading, these "montage phrases" (in Sergei Eisenstein's terminology) take on new symbolic meanings.


    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

    -- excerpted from "To the Lighthouse: Three Formulations about the Use of Cutting,"