Sunday Haiku: Basho and the First Snow Fall

Sunday Haiku: Basho and the First Snow Fall

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Now Back to our Haiku

Matsuo Basho is believed to have authored this particular haiku during this season (late January). For an in-depth analysis, including audio, please visit the lesson page through this link. Although this page is typically exclusive to Shogun or Lifetime members, it is available to all today for free. Shogun and Lifetime members enjoy the privilege of access to nearly a hundred such detailed haiku analyses. Why not become a member today or take the plunge and become a lifetime member?

Vocabulary

  • 初雪 first snow (of the season) [this is the 季語 kigo or season word: winter]

  • や  kireji (a kind of punctuation word in poetry)

  • 水仙 daffodil (flower); narcissus (flower)

  • 葉 leaf; blade (of grass)

  • 水仙の葉 the leaf of a narcissus plant (daffodil)

  • たわむ to bend; to warp

  • まで to the extent (the amount of snow was just enough to bend)

 

Haiku poetry, known for its profound yet minimalistic expression, leaves room for imagination. The "kigo," or seasonal word, "初雪" (first snowfall), implies a winter setting without outright stating it. The word "まで" (until), suggests the snowfall's extent. The poem lets us infer that it's winter and the snowfall is light, drawn from the image of slightly bent (たわむ) daffodil leaves under the snow's weight.

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