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Winter 2009, vol 7 no 4


Dark Path: Commentary

Dick Pettit and I had decided that "Dark Path" would be an autumn kasen. As a kasen there would be enough room for an image to crystalise.

Players perceive a moment differently. At that stage the element of collaboration comes in. I guess the psyche works overtime. And whether the self or the persona steps in to resolve the deadlock, sometimes it is hard to say. Verse 34, whose subject was the resurrection proved to be challenging,

in a voice
of indifference
play it again, Sam                      [33]

"such a dull and surly manner
denies the resurrection"              [34]

Dick Pettit had this to say: the verse is not an ex cathedra statement by the renga, but is the observation of a certain type of Christian who believes that all actions are redemptive, and to behave negatively is to deny the possibility of turning evil to good. It is an 'in persona' statement; a renga is in part a play for voices.

To reflect the shifting of verses, the deployment of the image should have pointed out the present time that we lived each day. Therefore, there was the necessity that most of the verses would be linked by reflection [utsuri] or else, the link in terms of its narrative, implied some sort of the shift of location.*

Nijõ Yoshimoto [1320-88] had said that the essence of linked verse lies in making everyday things look fresh. **

Topics grew in number: education [verse 3], the clandestine immigrant [4], religion [5, 34], national sports [6], home politics [8, 9], hunting [7, 10], food [19], war [22], the classic [13] and modern novel [32].

Francis Attard



* Higginson W J & Harter P (1989): The Haiku Handbook. How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. Pages 195 - 197. Kodansha International.

** Higginson W J (1996): The Haiku Seasons. POETRY OF THE NATURAL WORLD. Kodansha International. Quote translated by Makoto Ueda.


Related item in this issue of Simply Haiku: 'Dark Path: Kasen' ~ Dick Pettit, Francis Attard.


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