T (no first name) Wignesan


Haikus With Commentaries By Etiemble, Translated by T. Wignesan


(Taken from Etiemble’s only collection of poems (out of thousands which he burned in a fit of rage against the university in 1983) : le Coeur et la cendre: soixante ans de poésie (the heart and the ash: sixty years of poetry) . Paris: Les deux animaux,1984,158p. He had also published a critical work on the haiku.)

1. Epigraph strictly intended “for the heart and the ash”:

For fear of dying
of leaving dear ones behind
he did die of fear

(As the above seventeen syllables, which forced themselves upon me in October 1983, do not contain any latent kigo nor patent kiregi, I can hardly claim they make for a (proper) haiku. Let’s simply pretend that they are made up of seventeen obsessive syllables. Page 15.) Pages 92-97:

2. Haikus for Konrad CZYNSKI, Columbia University in the City of New York:

Millions of diamonds:
sun shines on this freezing rain.
Thousands of dead trees.

“The length of the haiku which does not permit itself to be laid out with blank spaces within its three metrical units, (yet) here in France and elsewhere is presented as a tercet; I insist on preserving its original form and thus have let it run over two pages (in one line) .” P.94.

3. Not a cloud in sky.
pond pitter patters: downpour?
burnt grass scent fills air.

4. May winter be late
on these white flakes of April!
Petals of flowers.

5.
(a) Milling sea anemones
carnivorous under sea:
my field frozen under.

(b) Milling sea anemones
carnivorous under sea:
field of frozen white.

(c) Milling sea anemones
carnivorous sea flowers:
my field frozen under.

(Etiemble says even Basho didn’t always respect the 17-syllable count. And adds: “Basho may never be able to say that in this page he didn’t recognise and approve (at least) ONE haiku! ” Page 96-97.

© T. Wignesan – Paris,2014

Submitted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Edited: Sunday, May 04, 2014

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