Canadian winter haiku – the wendigo’s fangs = les crocs du wendigo

the wendigo’s fangs
tearing into flesh  – 
flash-frozen heart

wendigo haiku

les crocs du wendigo
déchirant la chair –
coeur congelé

Richard Vallance


Kigo or season words in Japanese and Canadian haiku:

Traditional Japanese and Canadian haiku share at least a few kigo or season words. But there are many Canadian kigo which are not found in Japanese haiku at all, and one of these is the Canadian winter kigo, wendigo. But what is the wendigo? The Wendigo is said to be a Algonquian native legend. There are many different stories associated with this mystic being. Is it a spirit? or was it once a human being who was transformed into this being as a result of eating human flesh? The Algonquian native legend states, "It is usually described as a giant with a heart of ice; sometimes it is thought to be entirely made of ice. Its body is skeletal and deformed, with missing lips and toes." And yet another version of this story is retold by the Ojibwa First Nation and it states, "It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory." 

In Japanese traditional haiku, The three main strategies (among others) are the use of season words (kigo), cutting words (kireji), and objective sensory imagery. In Japanese haiku, the 500 most common kigo or season words are found here:
http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html

Just a few of these are:

for spring:
spring night
cherry blossom(s)
tranquil
hazy moon
last frost
spring tide
plow
pinwheel
frog
butterfly

for summer:
hot
summer moon
fragrant breeze
thunder
rainbow
drought
rice planting
silk worm
kingfisher
eel
mosquito

for autumn:
autumn dusk
chilly
fleeting autumn
scarecrow
reed cutting
quail
sandpiper
salmon
apple
grapes

for winter:
short days
clear and cold
freezing
winter moon
frost
snow
ice
icicles
grebe
bed bugs

But while Canadian share at least a few of these kigo or season words, it is more than apparent that most Canadian kigo are not the same as the Japanese ones. For instance, we have:

for spring:
umbrella(s)
pouring rain (especially!)
purple loosestrife
polar bear cubs
geese
tundra
midnight sun


for summer:
midnight sun
maple trees
dappled maples
shooting stars
bald eagle
canyon
stray cat
fireflies
wilderness
gray crane
Wild Rice Moon


for autumn:
MacIntosh, Spartan, Courtland, Royal Gala etc. apples
picking apples
falling leaves
leaves, especially maple leaves
rustling leaves
cabins
mist(y)

for winter:
snow storm (even though this exists in Japanese haiku, it is far more common in Canadian ones)
snow flurries
spruce trees
fir trees
ice storm
icy lake
Blood Wolf Moon
polar bears
wolves
wolverines
Arctic fox
Snowy Owl
(Canadian) lynx
snow hares
chickadees
Northern Lights = Aurora Borealis
wendigo