Morning Haiku and Waka – Wabi-Sabi – February 11, 2015



dawn’s waning moon
in the winter fields
broken crosses

dim morning beliefs
rotting fence poles and wire
waning winter moon

cold morning thoughts
this stillness in the fields
resonates the moon

cold blackbird sings
in the empty winter fields
without beggar’s bowl

© G.s.k. ‘15

divider_2What is wabi – sabi …. hard to define it seems … from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, I’ve taken a few notes that I’ll share here with you:

Sabi (SAH-BEE)

Bill Higginson, in The Haiku Handbook, calls sabi – “(patina/loneliness) Beauty with a sense of loneliness in time, akin to, but deeper than, nostalgia.” Suzuki maintains that sabi is “loneliness” or“solitude” but that it can also be “miserable”, “insignificant”, and “pitiable”, “asymmetry” and “poverty”. Donald Keene sees sabi as “an understatement hinting at great depths”

[Chèvrefueille writes] I have translated this as: sabi- aged/loneliness – A quality of images used in poetry that expresses something aged or weathered with a hint of sadness because of being abandoned. A split-rail fence sagging with overgrown vines has sabi; a freshly painted picket fence does not.” As a technique, one puts together images and verbs which create this desired atmosphere. Often in English this hallowed state is sought by using the word “old” and by writing of cemeteries and grandmas. These English tricks wear thin quickly.

Wabi (WAH-BEE)

[Wabi] is the twin brother of sabi … it can be defined as “poverty” … Beauty judged to be the result of living simply. Frayed and faded Levis have the wabi that bleached designer jeans can never achieve.”

Have I been able to write my haiku and haiga using wabi-sabi?

29 thoughts on “Morning Haiku and Waka – Wabi-Sabi – February 11, 2015

  1. Thank you for the explanation, Georgia. I always need extra info in different wording to finally grasp it. I think you have done a splendid job…we can feel the nostalgia and yes, the poverty in your last ku. Now I am curious to learn more! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is of course Jane Reichhold’s e-book if you haven’t already had a peek … but I’m thinking it is a complex thing to try to really get into … I’m going to try to research it out a bit more. Thanks for the compliments and I’m happy that you felt the wabi-sabi in the ku! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your haiku had a profound effect on me. Before I read your the thoughts on wabi sabi I was already in that deep, silent reflective mood that is pensive more than sad. Beautiful work Georgia.


  3. A treasure – and yes, I think you achieved the goals very well. There is a sense of emptiness, poverty, loss, aged and abandonment that resonates strongly, by choice of words; when reading this piece, I actually felt like I could sense “cold” experiencing it from a point of view, as if I had never felt it before. Great job 😀


    • I’m looking up mono no aware! Having connection problems again .. so it’s a slow slog trying to read and comment … but thanks so much for YOUR reading and commenting!


      • VTW, Wiki also gives some good info on WabiSabi and my most favorite, which I think you will really like and appreciate, chinmoku – there are movies and novels but it is a concept of silence, from the Japanese perspective. When I write haiku, it is always there – the “silence between the notes”….what our imagination fills in. There are other variants of the silence but it is one of those things that has affected my writing, thoughts, life, for many years. Like I said, I think you will definitely appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, you’ve certainly captured wabi and sabi here! Seems like there is nothing sadder than an abandoned fence, or a rotting cemetery cross in a field or along the roadside. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it (!!) but the second one really seems like a life metaphor.

    Brava — so well done. 🙂


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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