ume ga ka, 梅が香, plum blossom scent


The plum blossom scent

The plum blossoms (ume) scent
Chased again and again
By cold


梅が香に 追いもどさるる 寒さかな

Ume ga ka ni/ Oimo dosa ruru/ Samusa kana

Meaning of Basho’s Scent of Plum Blossoms

Who does not recall an early spring, the scent of the plum blossom, chased away by the cold, again and again? Until, it is spring at last.

Line two, 追いもどさ is a bit of a struggle for me. Chased, pursued, run after, driven away are all candidates as the action verb. るる may be translated as continuously, but I have chose “again and again”.

This simple haiku’s beauty lies in the ending rhyme of the three lines:

kani – ruru – kana

The ume is the Japanese plum tree, symbolizing the start of spring, because of its early blossoms that typically flower in February and March.

Here in Oz we have our own flowering trees, which though beautiful and heavenly in their smell, too soon begin to stink.



Lost in a lovely silver rain.

a very soft and lovely silver rain

Now and then,
Every man finds himself lost
Surrounded by a very soft and lovely silver rain

The idea of an “every man” is a pseudonym, a connection of mankind in general and the individual in particular. It is of course a paradox. We are related and we are distinct. We see and experience the world through a unique set of eyes and experiences, yet there exists a commonality in our lives. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

I would say, not sad, but lonely, lost in a lovely silver rain.

In traditional Japanese writing, haiku is written in a single vertical line. Each Japanese character falling softly like the gentle rain upon the listener’s ear.




Haiku should be brief. Often, it contains a symbol that is kigo, a reference to ths seasons and a reminder that we are connected to nature and that time is fleeting. The haiku must contain a kireji, a word that indicates emotion such as wonder. In English verse one might write it as single line.

I am lost in a very soft and lovely silver rain.


Ice Storm

Alert. There is an ice storm warning across the Land of Oz today.

Ice Storm
Ice encircles each branch and leaf
And for the moment
Time is frozen

Which leads to this thought?

Give me shelter
From the ice storm
But where do the birds go?

And this…

When, in an ice storm
Even the squirrels know to hide
Inside the tree

It is 32 degrees outside, O degrees celsius. Equilibrium. What is so magical about water that at that exact temperature, atoms stop their random association and like good soldiers on the field line up in perfect precision, waiting for one degree of heat to give the order to dismiss?

Final thoughts

blue summer dreams
dragonflies in the sun
my page is empty

© Lize Bard writes a blog which I follow @


That is a sad parting thought for 2016. I would prefer:

dreams of golden summer days
iridescent dragonflies fluttering in the air
my notebook is empty
until I pick up my pen again

Of course, that is not strictly Haiku, and it is wordy. Haiku should be a poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, evoking an emotional image of the natural world.

golden summer days
iridescent butterflies
my mind is empty

Matsuo Basho is the recognized Japanese master of the haiku and here is his poem to a frog jumping into an old pond:


Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Many are the English translations, so let me throw my hat into the ring:

In an ancient pond
A frog plunges in – kerplop
One hears water’s sound

Sometimes it is nice to be a frog sitting on the bank and a dragonfly comes by, gulp, that’s a snack, and you want to jump in the water so you don’t have to share.



cherry blossoms haikus

cherry blossoms

Here I am cold
Beneath cherry blossoms
Falling like snow

Shaded by cherry blossoms
One is still warmed
By beauty

A thousand petals, each a paler shade of pink
A thousand blossoms, and none alike
What then is beauty?

Try and emulate Kobayashi Issa –
Birds, insects, humans, alike
All share God’s gift, the cherry tree


cherry blossoms in spring