Tag Archive: frog



summer haiku d’été – the old pond = le vieil étang

the old pond
in a drought –
the sound of




le vieil étang
durant la sécheresse –
le bruit de

Richard Vallance


summer haiku... or not haiku d’été... oui ou non  – Shrödinger’s frog = la grenouille de Shrödinger

in the new old pond
Shrödinger’s frog croaks
and croaks and not




dans l’étang sans âge
la grenouille de Shrödinger
coasse oui et non

Richard Vallance 

Why did I repeat the word croaks in the English haiku? Think about it.  

I do not expect too many people to get this one, but if you do, great!


funny Japanese autumn haiku, not the frog again!  – haiku rigolo japonais d’automne, pas encore la grenouille ! 

in the cold pond
the frog croaks his last – 
and croaks *

* The English pun cannot be replicated in French.




dans l’étang froid
la grenouille coasse... la fin – 
elle est morte *

* Le jeu de mots en anglais ne se reproduit pas en français. De toute façon, ça reste comique !

Richard Vallance  

Canadian variant of Basho’s Old Pond haiku


Canadian variant of Basho’s Old Pond haiku

the beaver pond... 
a frog leaps -
plop! splash!




To head off criticisms that I should not have said plop! and then ... splash!, think about it. When a small amphibian such as a frog leaps into water, the first sound we hear is plop!... and then splash!

l’étang des castors ...
la grenouille y saute -
plouf ! grand plouf ! 

Richard Vallance

You can compare this with 32 translations of the Old Pond haiku, here:
http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/basho-frog.htm



winter haiku d’hiver – frozen in the pond = gelée dans l’étang

a ghost frog
frozen in the pond
mirrors the moon

frozen ghost frog 620

gelée dans l’étang
une grenouille fantôme,
miroir de la lune

Richard Vallance


spring haiku de printemps – spring rain peeper = la rainette crucifère

peeping through rain
the spring rain peeper
out on a limb

pinocchio rain peeper 620

dans la pluie
la rainette crucifère
figée sur une branche

Richard Vallance


summer haiku d’ été –  a spotted frog = une grenouille maculée

a spotted frog
on a lotus blossom – 
his perfumed world

spotted frog haiku 620

sur une fleur de lotus
une grenouille maculée –
son monde parfumé

Richard Vallance


Canadian equivalent of Basho’s “old pond” haiku REVISED = équivalent canadien du haiku « vieil étang » de Basho RÉVISÉ

beaver pond
frog springs
plop

beaver pond haiku620

étang des castors
la grenouille s’élance
plouf

Richard Vallance

3 excellent translations of the original haiku from:

matsuo basho old pond examples

original haiku:

furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

old pond kanji latinized

translations:

old pond
frog leaping
splash 

Cid Corman

the old pond,
a frog jumps in:
plop! 

Alan Watts

the old pond —
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

Robert Hass

old pond kanjia

2 horrible translations:

A lonely pond in age-old stillness sleeps . . .
Apart, unstirred by sound or motion . . . till
Suddenly into it a lithe frog leaps. 

Chris Hidden Page

The old pond, yes, and
A frog-jumping-in-the-
Water’s noise! 

G. S. Fraser

from the Commentary on this page:

Ya is a cutting word that separates and yet joins the expressions before and after. It is punctuation that marks a transition — a particle of anticipation.
Though there is a pause in meaning at the end of the first segment, the next two segments have no pause between them. In the original, the words of the second and third parts build steadily to the final word oto. This has penetrating impact — “the frog jumps in water’s sound.” Haiku poets commonly play with their base of three parts, running the meaning past the end of one segment into the next, playing with their form, as all artists do variations on the form they are working with. Actually, the name “haiku” means “play verse.”

It is highly advisable to read this entire commentary.


summer haiku d’été - common loons = plongeons huards

common loons
phantom howlers
pierce the moon

common loons haiku

plongeons huards
fantômes qui hurlent
percent la lune

Richard Vallance

Commentary on the rhythm and format of Canadian haiku:

In my view, the rhythm and assonance of haiku should be poetic, otherwise the haiku is not poetry.

Moreover, the so-called 5-7-5 syllable convention = 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second and 5 syllables in the third line is not valid whatsoever, because it does not exist in Japanese. Haiku should be free form, allowing anywhere from 7 or 8 to 17 syllables. For instance, in the common loons haiku in English above, we have 3-4-3 = 10 syllables. And since the grammar and syntax of different languages is never the same, the same haiku in French runs to 4-4-3 = 11 syllables, which is scarcely surprising. All too many haijin (haiku poets) try to force their haiku into the strict framework of so-called 5-7-5, with the result that many of their haiku sound stilted and unnatural.

This is especially of translations of Japanese haiku, the most famous of which is the “frog in the pond” haiku of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). Here are 3 translations of his haiku, one bad in 5-7-5 format and 2 good ones in free format:

bad translation:

Pond, there, still and old!
A frog has jumped from the shore.
The splash can be heard. 

Failures in this translation:
first line: insertion of the words “there” and “still” to flush out the line
second line:  “has jumped”, past tense & “from the shore” is not found in the original Japanese haiku at all!
third line: in the passive voice 

Trans. Eli Siegel

good translations:

old pond
frog leaping
splash

Trans. Cid Corman 

the old pond,
a frog jumps in:
plop! 

Trans. Alan Watts

Original haiku in Japanese:

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

This looks like 5-7-5 syllables, but as you can see for yourself in the original haiku in the kanji script, there are actually only 3 kanji characters in the first line, with 5 in the second line and 3 in the third for a total of just 11. So the so-called 5-7-5 strict formula is blown out of the water!

old pond haiku in kanji




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