For those of us who might be experiencing a slump or fallow period in our haiku writing: we might take heart from a winter haiku by the all-time master:
kiku no ato daikon no hoka sara ni nashi
After the chrysanthemums,
Apart from radishes,
There is nothing.
Bashō, trans. Linda Inoki, The Japan Times, December 7, 2005
R.H. Blyth also has a translation of this haiku in his Haiku Vol. IV, Autumn – Winter (He substitutes ‘turnip’ for radish since his EL readers were unlikely to be familiar with the daikon. These days, we can find the long white Japanese radish in any supermarket.) Blyth comments:
“(Winter) is a kind of off-season for poetry by the calendar of haiku. (This haiku expresses) simply and spontaneously the poetical emptiness that Bashō feels”.
Perhaps Bashō’s haiku might inspire us to write haiku on not being inspired to write haiku?