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writeALONG! 20 December

A TUESDAY FEATURE

host: Muskaan Ahuja

guest editor: Richa Sharma


Diary Writing


Taneda Shoichi (1882-1940) admired for his non-traditional haiku, had a tragic life that is responsible for the undoubted literary worth of his works today.

A few things about him will always linger in my contemplation. First, a deep attachment to his mother is very poignant. His book of haiku Somokuto was dedicated “to my mother / who hastened to her death when young.” Second, as we all know, he found enlightenment in daily life. Third, his profound love for haiku was aided by walking trips.


And fourth, he used to frequently record the circumstances that led to the composition of a particular poem or group of poems in his diaries and letters. Here is one excerpt from Grass and Tree Cairn:


In 1927 and 1928 I drifted aimlessly, along the San’yo Road, along the San’in Road, and in Shikoku and Kyushu.


Alone being eaten up by mosquitoes

Hitori de ka ni kuwareteiru


Some of my favourite haiku by Santoka:



wobbly on my feet

the good taste

of water




I go on walking

higan lilies

go on blooming*



* Higanbana (equinox flower), also called manjushage, is a wild lily that blooms around the autumn equinox.


Over the next week, I request you to compose short-form poems from your diary entries and scribbles. If you haven't written, let's begin today. Don't worry about imperfections. Over time and with edits, a poem will be clear as a mirror. Please remember, there will be a difference between translation and writing English-language haiku.

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