Critiquing Poetry/Analyzing a haiku

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Poem[edit | edit source]

The old pond; A frog jumps in — The sound of the water.

Basho, translated by R. H. Blyth

Form[edit | edit source]

Haiku prosody is syllabic, meaning that number of syllables in a poetic line give the piece structure. A haiku is separated into 3 phrases of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and finally 5 syllables respectively, for an overall total of 17 syllables.

Images[edit | edit source]

Haiku are characterized by the juxtaposition, and harmonization, of two contrasting images. These images are delineated by the use of a kireji, a "cutting word". Translations usually will mark the cutting word with a dash.

Kigo (season-words)[edit | edit source]

Analysis[edit | edit source]

In Basho's piece, the contrasting images are that of the old pond (which evokes stillness, quiet, and serenity) and that of the jumping frog (which evokes activity, energy, and wildness.) They are harmonized in the last line.