by Johannes S. H. Bjerg


One of many wondrous things about haiku is that the form has survived numerous definitions. Every time someone said “it's this” (in the sense of “fencing it in”) it has moved on to become “and that too”.

after the last train we pin down raindrops

Haiku is a human expression and it grows from the lives humans live across this blue dot in the universe and changes with the conditions we live with. Human life is hugely diversified and thus haiku becomes hugely diversified. Humans grow and evolve and consequently haiku does too. Humans experience all kinds of situations and feelings and thus haiku (ideally) reflects that.

following the frequency of civilisations one snail one pen
                                    Frozen Butterfly 3, 2015

And yet it has a core – a DNA, as someone wiser than me has expressed it – which tells us “this is a haiku”. This “core” perhaps lies in the way haiku uses language to create dense images that makes the reader think. And what the reader adds by thinking completes the haiku.

neti, neti but that and yet*

after the snowfall the crap camouflage of blackbirds

leaving it to the wind
to word
the je-ne-sais-quoi


Johannes S.H. BergBio: Johannes S. H. Bjerg, an apprentice in all things.

*"In Hinduism, and in particular Jnana Yoga and Advaita Vedanta, neti neti is a Sanskrit expression which means "not this, not this", or "neither this, nor that" (neti is sandhi from na iti "not so"). It is found in the Upanishads and the Avadhuta Gita and constitutes an analytical meditation helping a person to understand the nature of Brahman by first understanding what is not Brahman. It corresponds to the western via negativa, a mystical approach that forms a part of the tradition of apophatic theology."