Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji) wrote,
Deborah P Kolodji

Haunted House - an autumn kigo?

There’s been some recent discussion on the WHCVanguard list about my Winchester Mystery House "haiku":

haunted house
the photograph
of a blue blob

I posted it to World Haiku Club Vanguard because I thought it fell in the realm of “vanguard haiku” by one of the WHC definitions of “vanguard haiku”, i.e. a haiku about an unusual topic or subject. Scifaiku falls into the “haiku vanguard” category by this same definition, according to list moderator Denis Garrison.

Although it was pointed out that “haunted house” is an autumn kigo under the category of observances/Halloween by Higginson’s “Haiku World”, Robert Wilson says my blue blob poem is senryu according to various noted haiku scholars’ definitions.

Essentially, if I understand Wilson correctly, he categorizes anything “people oriented” as senryu and anything “nature oriented” as haiku.

In the case of my blue blob poem, a house and a photograph are admittedly manmade things. The blue blob itself could fall somewhere in between, depending upon whether you believe the blue blob is caused by sunlight reflecting off the prisms in the house’s myriad stained glass windows or a ghostly manifestation of the spirit of a human being that has passed on to a different place. Then, there’s the side issue of ghosts, if you believe the latter. Are ghosts/spirits nature-based entities or man-made imaginings?

From my perspective as a poet, I was thinking of it as a haiku but a lot of that feeling about the poem comes from my advantage of having been there. I don’t, for example, actually say in the poem whether I was standing inside or outside the house. I’m sure most readers assume that the poem takes place inside the house because presumably whatever haunts the house dwells inside of it.

Yet, the blue blob observed in actuality was on the front porch, from the viewpoint of standing on the lawn, behind a fountain, observing the house in its garden setting. So, from a scientific standpoint, ignoring the ghost issue, my poetic observation was about a lighting effect, nature’s rays of light bouncing off a manmade object (expensive stained glass windows) in its way. In my mind, then, the root core of the poem is about light and light would be classified as nature oriented. This puts it in the haiku side of things, IMO.

But I confess that I didn’t really see the lighting effect until I looked at the photograph I snapped at that moment, so perhaps the lighting effect was manmade by a manmade object, i.e. my digital camera. So, that probably puts us right back in the senryu arena, despite my gut feeling that it “felt like” a haiku when I wrote it.

At the end of the day, I find the academic musing about the poem’s classification somewhat interesting, but what matters to me more to me as a poet is whether it captured the moment. When I look in this poem in the future, I’m always going to retrieve that porch, that ray of light, and that blue blob from my memory, so in that sense, I’m satisfied with the poem, regardless of what you want to call it.
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