ABSTRACT: Amid the death and destruction of the World War 1 battlefields, amid the mud, blood and chaos young men in the trenches were writing poetry, including haiku. How had haiku moved from Japan to western Europe and how established was it in the early years of the 20th century? And in this centenary year of the battles on the Gallipoli peninsula (in Turkey in 2015, with the Somme in 2016 and Passchendaele in 2017), it is timely to consider the way haiku can be used as tool for remembrance and honouring.1
by Sandra Simpson
young men march away — the mountain greenness is at its peak — Santōka Taneda (1882 – 1940) tr John Stevens2
June 28 marks the anniversary of the First Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which Serbia was defeated by the Ottoman Turks (the Sultan was, however, assassinated in his tent) and although Serbia did not truly lose its independence until the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448, June 28 is a day of great significance, not to say sorrow, to Serbian nationalists.
In 1914 there was added fuel on that day as Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire and all waxed moustaches, feathered helmet and gleaming medals, inspected imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The annexation of Bosnia in 1908 had outraged Serbian nationalists, who believed the country should have become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation.
After the inspection, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie – with minimal security – went to Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, to open a museum. June 28 was also Franz Ferdinand’s wedding anniversary and this too has some bearing on why he was in Sarajevo that day. His beloved wife was denied royal status in Austria due to her birth as a poor Czech aristocrat, and their children were treated poorly at court. She could never sit by his side on any public occasion, except in a place where royal etiquette was unclear – a place such as annexed Bosnia.
Waiting for the royal pair were six assassins from the Young Bosnia group, which wanted a pan-Serbia (pan-Yugoslavia), all young men who were “walking dead” as they all had tuberculosis. However, the assassins weren’t up to much, missed the royals a couple of times and seemed to lose interest.
“We see a pleasant couple on a sunny morning. They are a little plump, perhaps, and well into middle age. Clearly they are people of wealth and consequence. They are sitting in an expensive open car, a rarity at the time. She is elegant in a white dress and hat. Although the photograph is black and white, we know from other sources that the flowers she carries are roses, blood-red ones. He is wearing a military uniform. As she looks on approvingly, he shakes the hand of a local dignitary.
“The man leaning down from the car is Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, that vast and ancient empire at the heart of Europe. By his side is his wife, Sophie. As it happens, they are about to celebrate their wedding anniversary. By all accounts the marriage has been a very happy one. Nevertheless, the old emperor and his court disapprove of her because she comes from the wrong social class and they humiliate her at every opportunity. But today Franz Ferdinand and Sophie are in Sarajevo, far from Vienna and its rigid etiquette, and she is being received with full honours as his equal.
“The photograph was taken . . . on June 28 1914, and they have less than three hours to live. Young assassins, backed and armed by shadowy forces in Serbia, are waiting among the onlookers. Even then, the couple so nearly escape their fate. One bomb misses and others among the plotters lose their nerve. Then, while trying to flee, the driver of the car takes a wrong turn. As he fumbles with the gears to back up, the last of the assassins steps up and shoots the passengers, point blank.”3
The assassin is a 19-year-old loitering on a street corner after having given up on the plot. Seeing his chance, Gavrilo Princep steps forward to enter history and for a century afterwards credited with being the tinder that started World War 1. But the tensions in Europe that year were such that the fabric was likely to ignite anyway – and there were plenty of other sparks waiting to fly.
On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War 1 had begun.
Over the course of four years (1915 – 18) New Zealand lost the most men per capita of any of the British Empire countries – 18,166 out of a population of just 1.1 million – although other Allied countries had much greater numerical and relative losses, including France, Romania, Greece and Serbia.4
So what gladness and sadness must have been felt privately and publicly all around the world on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the first Armistice Day. One of the deadliest conflicts in human history had finally come to an end, leaving more than 16 million people dead and more than 20 million wounded.
But grief has a habit of following us down the years – mothers who lost sons and husbands and grieved the rest of their lives, women widowed, women whose husbands returned traumatised (and divorce wasn’t an option), children who lost the men in their lives, women and children who struggled to keep farms and businesses going (it wasn’t until 1916 that the New Zealand government created ‘reserved occupations’ for men), women who remained unmarried, men too damaged to rejoin ‘normal’ life, the abuse of alcohol and the violence. Black-edged letters and telegrams – one from the King and one from the Governor-General – began to be delivered the length and breadth of New Zealand with alarming regularity from the moment of the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, 1915.
In this year, the centenary of the mess that was Gallipoli, it’s an opportunity to look at the war through a haiku lens, and assess how the form was used during World War 1 and since to bear witness and to remember.
Scene-setting: All Things Japanese
In the early years of the 20th century Europe and America couldn’t get enough of Japanese art and culture, even coining a term for the fashion, Japonisme. The fad was tied to the “re-opening” of Japan after the 1853 arrival of American gunboats in Tokyo Bay. Widespread importing – and exporting – once again became possible, and although porcelain had been relatively well known outside Japan during its “closed” years, the country’s refined aesthetics and “exotic” art took the world by storm when it began to arrive en masse.
The craze began with woodblock prints or ukiyo-e (ukiyo means “the floating world” and depicted the hedonistic lifestyle of Japan’s wealthy merchant class). On the crest of the tidal wave of imports flooding Europe, these prints transformed European art, influencing, among others, Monet, Degas, Tissot and Van Gogh. It is said that James Whistler discovered Japanese prints in a Chinese tearoom near London Bridge and that Claude Monet first came upon them used as wrapping paper in a spice shop in Holland.5
Japan had its own pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition of 1867, the first formal exhibition in Europe of Japanese art. After the exhibition several Japanese art dealers based themselves in Paris, and French collectors, writers, and art critics travelled to Japan in the 1870s and 1880s.
But the largest exhibition in which Japan participated was in 1910 in London – attracting more than 8 million visitors (in 1911 greater London had a population of 7 million) and including more than 2000 artefacts, as well as acrobats, sword dancers, sumo wrestlers and two authentic Japanese gardens.6 The influence of Japanese art was soon evident in fashion, ceramics, glass, furniture, architecture, jewellery and textiles produced throughout Europe, with the impact on the fine arts especially potent.
For example, New Zealand-born writer Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923) visited the exhibition and “took to wearing a kimono at home, read the poems of Yone Noguchi and The Book of Tea (1906) by Kakuzo Okakura, and invested in Japanese clothes and soft furnishings”.7
Noguchi eventually became a contributor to Rhythm, the magazine Mansfield co-edited with John Middleton Murry in 1912 – 13, thanks to Mansfield’s influence, “and the influence of Japonisme would be a feature of both her fiction and her personal writing for the rest of her life”. In 1914 Middleton Murry published Noguchi’s The Spirit of Japanese Poetry, largely a collection of lectures he gave in Britain.
Mansfield’s family home in Wellington has yielded evidence of the far-flung taste for Japonisme – her father was well-to-do banker Harold Beauchamp (Mansfield was born Kathleen Beauchamp) with a recognised “place” in society. Finds have included a netsuke mouse in porcelain and ceramics, including a piece of a china mug with a design featuring cherry blossom and a bird, “a typical example of Japonisme”.8 The restored building (now a museum) features an interior décor “inspired by Japonisme and the Aesthetic Movement”.9 Mansfield, who had returned to New Zealand from London in 1906, left for good in 1908.
The literary arts were, however, one of the lesser strands of Japonisme and apparently didn’t have much of a following outside literary circles.
Haiku in Europe: Viva la France!
Early, if stilted, translations of haiku and tanka from Japanese into French were available in 1871 and 1885, although were little known outside Japoniste circles.10 Instead, it was the work of Paul-Louis Couchoud, a medical doctor, that saw France in the early years of the 20th century at the forefront of producing haiku poets and understanding the form.
Couchoud almost single-handedly drove interest in haiku – and carefully spread the ‘virus’ throughout Europe. He visited Japan in 1903 – 4 and fell in love with the culture, beginning to write haiku and translating Japanese poets, particularly Buson, into French.
In 1905 Couchoud and two friends published a limited-edition collection of 72 haiku, Au Fil de l’Eau (Going with the Flow), which they wrote while on a canal holiday. There are several variations of the story behind this book, both on the internet and in print, with different details of the trip, including the names of the other two authors, where the boating holiday took place (France or Japan), and even if it was a boating holiday. Commonsense leads me to believe it took place in France.
Sur le bord du bateau Je me hazarde à quatre pattes Que me veut cette libellule? — Paul-Louis Couchoud on the boat’s deck I venture on all fours what does this dragonfly want? — tr. Bertrand Agostini11
Couchoud defined haiku as “a brief amazement’, like a musical note whose harmonies linger with the reader.12 Couchoud’s Au Fil de l’eau is believed to be the first volume of haiku written in a European language,13 although the first haiku known to have been written by a European was considerably earlier, penned by Dutchman Hendrik Doeff, who lived in Japan between 1799 and 1813 and who composed the two haiku that have come down to us through the years in Japanese.14
In 1906 Couchoud had an essay on haiku (which he called lyric epigrams) published in the journal Les Lettres. The editor of Les Lettres, Fernand Gregh, soon published Quatrains a la Fonn des Haikai japonais, while Albert de Neville said that Couchoud’s essay gave him the impetus to write 163 Haikais et Tankas, Epigrammes a la japonaise. In 1910 Michel Revon published an anthology of Japanese literature in a pocket-size edition. In this anthology, Revon, who had been a professor at the Law School of Tokyo and was adjunct professor of the History of Far Eastern Civilisations at the Sorbonne, used the word “haiku” for the first time in France.15
Couchoud made two more trips to Japan and China, resulting in his 1920 collection Sages et poètes d’Asie (published as Japanese Impressions).16
The French influence – Couchoud’s work in particular – on haiku in Europe cannot be overstated. The enthusiasm for haiku and the understanding of the form radiated out from Paris to Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Britain. People such as Juan Jose Tablada (Mexico/Spain), Ezra Pound (US/Britain), Arno Holz and Rainer-Maria Rilke (both Germany) and Miloš Crnjanski (Yugoslavia) all came into contact with Couchoud or his work and helped spread haiku further.
Scene-setting: The First Haiku in English
Who wrote the first haiku in English and when is something that in 2016 is impossible to pin down. Theories abound and arguments are made but – even given the debate about what comprises a haiku in English – at this remove the records are simply not there.
Jim Kacian speculates that three hokku found in the Grammar of the Japanese Written Language (1877) by Ireland-born British diplomat WG Aston and unattributed to an author were, in fact, written by Aston – and so would be the first haiku in English. “Whether the poems are originals or translations, we can be relatively certain they are the first of their kind to appear in English.”
Fuji Concealed in a Mist. Into a sea of mist whither hath Mt Fuji sunk?17
Japanese poet Yone Noguchi (1875 – 1947) lived in the US and England from 1893 to 1914 and in 1902 published The American Diary of a Japanese Girl, the first novel in English by a Japanese, and the first to include an original haiku given both in Romanji Japanese and English, but unlikely to have been composed in English.
remain, oh, remain, my grief of sayonara, there in water sound! — Yone Noguchi18
Noguchi left the US for England in November 1902, and composed what were probably the first haiku in English to be written in Britain. In My London Experience, published in 1911, he quotes his own diary entry from November 4, 1903, and offers one of his own ‘hokku’.19
“What a parade of frock coats! . . . How many hundred thousand people in that immortal coat pass by Charing Cross every day? It is here that I wrote one seventeen-syllable hokku poem, which appears, when translated, as follows:”Tell me the street to Heaven. This? Or that? Oh, which? What webs of streets!
So this haiku was apparently was composed in Japanese and translated by the author. However, in a 1912 article, reprinted the next year in Rhythm, Noguchi included the following hokku and a description of its composition.
My love’s lengthened hair Swings o’er me from Heaven’s gate: Lo, evening’s shadow!
“It was in London, to say more particularly, Hyde Park, that I wrote the above hokku in English, where I walked slowly, my mind being filled with the thought of the long hair of Rossetti’s woman as I perhaps had visited Tate’s Gallery that afternoon; pray, believe me when I say the dusk that descended from the sky swung like that lengthened hair. I exclaimed then: What use to try the impossibility in translation, when I have a moment to feel a hokku feeling and write about it in English? Although I had only a few such moments in the past, my decision not to translate hokku into English is unchanged. Let me wait patiently for a moment to come when I become a hokku poet in my beloved English.”20
In 1913 Noguchi gave a lecture at Magdalen College in Oxford, ‘The Japanese Hokku Poetry’, which became a key chapter in his March 1914 book The Spirit of Japanese Poetry. He left Britain in April 1914 returning to the United States via Paris, Berlin and Moscow (war broke out in August).21 In New York Noguchi made a serious effort to reform American poetry through the use of hokku and in an article in The Reader magazine described hokku as like a slightly-open door, inviting one to come in, in contrast to an English poem which is like a mansion with the windows wide open, so that one could see what was inside without being tempted to go in.22
In ‘The Unexpected Import’, his thesis on the origins of haiku in English, Brett D Bodemer suggests that Noguchi’s most important contribution to English-language haiku may have been the direct influence his haiku criticism had on American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972), who arrived in London in 1908 from France.
“It may or may not be deemed mere coincidence that the poem often cited as the first published English-language haiku, ‘In a Station of The Metro’, by Ezra Pound, appeared only three months [after Noguchi’s article in Rhythm] … but to my knowledge no one has drawn attention to a rare and identical error of fact, found both in Noguchi’s article and in one written shortly afterward by Pound. Though in earlier and later works Noguchi says the hokku consists of seventeen syllables, in ‘What is a Hokku Poem?’ he refers to it as being made of sixteen syllables. And so does Ezra Pound in ‘How I Began’, an article that appeared in June of 1913.
“It is a strange error for Noguchi, but less so for Pound, whose knowledge of haiku could not be first hand; in misstating this fact it seems as though Pound has unwittingly revealed one of his sources.”
In September 1914 Pound offers another genesis of his ‘Metro’ poem, Bodemer continues, this time referring to it as a “hokku-like sentence”. Both the poem and Pound’s description make it clear that he recognises the principle of association as earlier explained by Noguchi.
“Pound writes: The ‘one-image’ poem is a form of superposition, that is to say, it is one idea set on top of another. . . . I wrote a thirty-line poem, and destroyed it because it was what we call work of ‘second intensity’. Six months later I made a poem half that length; a year later I made [a] . . . hokku-like sentence.”
Pound had written his “In a Station at the Metro” poem by 191123 with publication in 1913 in Poetry magazine. It is often considered to be the first haiku written in English, although one might consider Noguchi to have a better claim, whatever the quality of either piece.
In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough — Ezra Pound
Earl Miner offers an explanation for the tendency on the part of many Imagists – a movement in which Pound was a leading light – to be “over-visual” in their poetry: “Europe was excited about Japanese prints, lacquer ware, and pottery long before it knew anything about the poetry. Almost always the poet came to know the prints before the poetry, and this priority meant that his ideas about the nature of Japanese poetry were shaped, probably unconsciously, by his previous impressions of the wood block print.”24
Pound was also being introduced to the art of the Far East through the 1909 lectures of poet Laurence Binyon and to haiku through Imagist F S Flint (1885 – 1960), the latter inspired by the writing of Couchoud.
“Flint later recalled how the proto-Imagist group [in London] . . . rebelled against the poetry of the day; ‘they proposed at various times to replace it by pure vers libre; by the Japanese tanka and haikai; we all wrote dozens of the latter as an amusement’.”25
Flint, while not publishing any of his own poems, was writing about haiku, and in a 1908 review of recent verse for The New Age magazine lamented the quality of translation into English – which may have been a reason for the English-speaking world lagging behind France in the embrace of haiku – but concludes: “To the poet who can catch and render, like these Japanese, the brief fragments of the soul’s music, the future lies open.”26
In a 2004 essay John Gilliver27 posits that the Imagists, led by Pound, were searching for a style altogether harder. “Clarity, precision, brevity were what they emphasised, and an astringent directness that could face the urban. They seized upon vers libre, haiku and tanka as brusque, unconventional forms, with metaphor – the concentrating, focusing lens of a concrete image – as the primary vehicle of expression. Coming from a faster-paced, ‘shove-or-be-shoved’ America, as most of the Imagists did, they turned away from a soft England to the intellectually harder-edged French, and to what they saw as a clearer-eyed Japan. They wanted an intellectual hardness that could engage the modern, an emotional hardness that could look upon the ugly, and a sophisticated, stylistic hardness that could capture both a brilliant visual reality and an inner reality or idea.”
Another with a claim to having composed the first haiku in English is the larger-than-life half-German half-Japanese (Carl) Sadakichi Hartmann (1867 – 1944).
Hartmann was born on the island of Dejima where Doeff (1764– 1837) had lived, although this was less of a coincidence than it appears as for 200 years the artificial island in Nagasaki harbour was the only place Europeans were allowed to reside in Japan. Hartmann’s Japanese mother died shortly after his birth, and his father arranged for Carl to be raised in Germany. But the boy ran away from a naval training academy and in 1882 was sent to distant relatives in Philadelphia where he promptly befriended Walt Whitman.28
Hartmann made four long visits to Europe where he was taken up by the bohemian set, sending journalism and art criticism back to America. He is mentioned in Pound’s writing several times.
Unable to speak Japanese, Hartmann nevertheless had an interest in the art of his birthplace. Japanese Art (which included literature) is a nearly 300-page volume published in 1903 and he also wrote articles about Japanese literature. The first and most lengthy, ‘The Japanese Conception of Poetry’, appeared in The Reader in 1904.29 Part of the article delineates the essential as well as the formal differences between haikai and tanka. Amazed at how much confidence the Japanese poet places in the reader, Hartmann writes:
“He simply depicts a crow sitting on a withered branch, and leaves it to the reader to complete the poetic thought. If he wants to dwell upon the fugitiveness of all earthly things he simply says, “a joint of bamboo is floating down the river”; if he wants to compare the sorrows of mankind with fading autumn leaves that cover the ground, he exclaims, “There are far more of you than ever I saw growing on the trees!” . . . The symbolism of Japanese poetry is unique. It has nothing in common with our Western emblematic signs and forms. It is rather a spiritual idea, a subtile [sic] speculation, a unison of the external beauties of nature and the subtleties of the human soul, which has its origin in tradition and a continual association with flowers, with animals, trees, mountains and the ever-changing elements.”
Hartmann included several tanka in his 1904 book of poetry, Drifting Flowers of the Sea, and in 1915 published his Tanka and Haikai. Hartmann reworked and reissued these images for much of his life.
White petals afloat On a winding woodland stream — What else is life’s dream! — Sadakichi Hartmann30
This poem appears with the footnote: “The Haikai is a Tanka minus the concluding fourteen syllables. It was favored in the sixteenth century. Frequently it is purely poetical and the association of thought produced too vague to be conveyed in English with such exaggerated brevity.”
Hartmann’s first collection, Poems, appeared in 1889 but there is no knowing if it contained haiku. Japanese Rhythms, Tanka, Haikai and Other Forms Translated, Adapted or Imitated was published in 1926.31
Jim Kacian, in a 2005 essay,32 describes Hartmann’s haiku as “truly poetic renderings”.
“I call them renderings rather than original poems, despite the fact that Hartmann published them as original, because I think it is obvious these poems were cribbed from other sources. Surely the butterfly poem is Moritake’s, and the spring bells belong to Bashō. I’ve been unable to find the original to the third of these [quoted below], though I know I’ve read it before . . . One other interesting point is that this third poem is more senryū than haiku, and might possibly be the first such poem to appear in English.”
At new morn we met Two weeks I’ve waited in vain. Tonight! Don’t forget. — Sadakichi Hartmann
Haiku and the Great War
Lining up on one side in World War 1 as the “Allies’ were countries including Russia (taking in Finland and part of Poland), France (and its colonies), Japan, and the United Kingdom, whose colonies and dominions included Canada, Newfoundland (at the time not part of the dominion of Canada), Australia, New Zealand, India, Kenya and South Africa. Italy (and its colonies) entered the war in 1915, Portugal (and its colonies, although fighting was taking place in Africa in 1915) and Romania in 1916, and the United States, Greece, China and Brazil in 1917. Japan secured sea lanes in the Pacific and quickly occupied Germany’s lease territories in east Asia and colonies in the Pacific, while its naval vessels were also stationed in Cape Town and Malta.
On the other side was the ‘Central Powers’ – the German empire (including part of the Jutland Peninsula that is today Denmark and part of Poland) and its colonies, Austria-Hungary (including what later became Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) and the Ottoman Empire, with Bulgaria entering the war in 1915. In 1913 the Ottoman Empire comprised what is today Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, south to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, plus Syria, Iraq and Kuwait. By the start of World War 1 it had lost its eastern European lands, including Bulgaria which had been occupied for almost 500 years.
You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees. — Kaiser Wilhelm II, watching German troops march off to war in August, 1914.
In February 1915, Katherine Mansfield made a trip to the front in northeast France, apparently posing as a sick aunt to access the restricted zone, spending four nights with her lover, the French writer Francis Carco. Her story, An Indiscreet Journey, written in his Paris apartment in May 1915, is an account of this episode and one of the earliest fictional accounts of the Great War written in English, by a woman, with first-hand experience of the scenes she is describing.33
And now we were passing big wooden sheds like rigged-up dancing halls or seaside pavilions, each flying a flag. In and out of them walked the Red Cross men; the wounded sat against the wall sunning themselves. At all the bridges, the crossings, the stations, a petit soldat, all boots and bayonet. Forlorn and desolate he looked, like a little comic picture waiting for the joke to be written underneath. Is there really such a thing as war? Are all these laughing voices really going to the war?– Katherine Mansfield, from “An Indiscreet Journey”34
Mansfield’s much-loved younger (and only) brother Leslie Heron Beauchamp (Chummie) joined the South Lancashire Regiment and was a 21-year-old Second Lieutenant when he was killed by a malfunctioning hand grenade during training on October 6, 1915. He is buried in the Messines war cemetery in Belgium. Chummie had just spent two weeks with Mansfield and Middleton Murry in London while on an army course, ironically, on the use of hand grenades, and had met his sister as soon as he had arrived in London in February 1915 – she borrowed money from him to make her trip to Carco in France.
Chummie’s death had a significant impact on Mansfield’s writing, unleashing memories of New Zealand and their shared childhood, which she turned into some of her best work,35 including Prelude, the time before his birth in February 1894, and its sequel, At the Bay.
French poet Julien Vocance (1878 – 1954), born Joseph Seguin, had been introduced to haiku by Couchoud. When war was declared Vocance enlisted in the French army and, while serving in the trenches, wrote Cent visions de guerre (One Hundred Visions of War),36 the title a sardonic play on One Hundred Views of Edo, Hiroshige’s famous series of woodblock prints, or One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji by the artist Hokusai, or both.
Cent Visions de Guerre, published in May 1916, immediately brought poetic Japonisme into mainstream French traditions, Jan Hokenson writes.39 “Vocance was terrorised by the flames and mud of the trenches, the relentless shelling, the explosions of bodies and of the earth itself, the blood and rotting bandages, the boredom, and the grief. Opting not for the epic frescoes of the novel . . . to convey the enormity of war, Vocance returned to the haiku form for another ‘vision’ of war.”
Cent Visions established a new audience for this “poetic ‘presque rien’ (next to nothing)”, Hokenson says, which succeeded, where other genres were often failing, to evoke the war’s feelings, sights and sounds. “For Vocance . . . haiku was not a conventional genre laden with moribund traditions, but an outlaw form . . . It interprets nothing.”
In 1917 Vocance published another ninety war haiku in La Grande Revue.
Dans un trou du sol, la nuit, En face d’une armee immense, deux hommes — Julien Vocance40 in a hole in the ground, at night, facing an immense army two men Les cadavres entre les tranchées, Depuis trois mois noircissant, Ont attrapé la pelade — Julien Vocance41 between the trenches the bodies blackening for three months have contracted alopecia
Couchoud, meanwhile, believed his friend wrote in the trenches because a haiku is a “naked sensation”. Haiku serves the new, Couchoud said, so it perfectly served the terrible experience of this new, mechanised war.42
Les rafales de nos canons D’une ville a l’horizon Allument la vision brève — Julien Vocance43 bursts from our guns the town on the horizon a brief vision of light
Many of his Cent Visions haiku were reprinted, particularly in 1920 – the year the editors of Nouvelle Revue Francaise decreed “the year of haiku” in their special ‘japoniste’ issue of September 1.44
Dans les vertebres Du cheval mal enfoui Mon pied fait: floch — Julien Vocance, 191645 among the vertebras of the badly buried horse my foot goes: flosh — tr Bertrand Agostini Je l’ai reçu dans la fesse Toi dans l’oeil Tu es un héros, moi guère — Julien Vocance46 I’ve taken a hit in the bum you in the eye — you’re a hero, me not so much
Vocance lost his right eye during the war and suffered from blinding migranes for the rest of his life.47 However, fellow French writer Georges Sabiron (1882 – 1918), who originally trained as a lawyer, lost his life, dying in the trenches of northern France in May 1918, just 2 months after having his haiku published in La Vie.48
L’obus en éclats Fait jaillir du bouquet d’arbres Un cercle d’oiseaux. — Georges Sabiron shrapnel brings from the grove of trees a circle of birds
The Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888 – 1970) included haiku about his war experiences in the collection, The Buried Seaport/The War. He had been in Paris before the war and “undoubtedly” knew Couchoud’s book, Hokenson says, adding that Ungaretti began keeping a diary in haiku and eventually wrote ‘haiku-like’ forms of his own invention.
Although his parents were Tuscan, Ungaretti was born in Alexandria (Egypt) with the large Italian community there tending to be bilingual in French. When the 24-year-old poet went to study in Europe in 1912, he went to Paris, and had hardly lived in Italy when he joined the army.49
Ungaretti was a self-professed anarchist who saw the war as Germany’s fault. He identified with the art and liberty of France, despite its hostility to anarchists, and when he went to Italy, was swept up by a rising nationalistic fervour. Ungaretti saw the war as a vehicle for bringing liberty and victory to the ordinary people. His regiment was shipped to the Italian-Austrian front. As he said later:50
“It was one of the most stupid wars that one can imagine, aside from the fact that war is always stupid: but that one was particularly stupid. The people that commanded that war . . . very well, we’ll let that go . . . that’s another story. Well, stuck there with death, among those deaths, there wasn’t time: I needed to speak in decisive words, absolute words, and there was this necessity of expressing myself with very few words, of honing them, of not saying what was not necessary to say, that is, in language bare, nude, extremely expressive . . . I had before me a landscape of desolation, where there wasn’t anything; it was a little like the desert: there was mud, then there was the rubble . . . The mud, the mud … one of the worst things one can imagine: a mud smooth, red – one fell down in that mud and remained stuck: I was completely, totally dressed in mud . . .”
In mid-December 1916, after a year in the trenches, Ungaretti spent a leave in Naples before going back to the front on January 17. A month later he wrote:
English reviewer Clive Wilmer says of this poem of Ungaretti’s:53
“To Italians, it’s perhaps the most famous poem of modern times: a tiny piece just seven syllables long, four shorter than a single line of Dante. The title is ‘Mattino’ (‘Morning’), and you don’t need to know Italian to catch the beauty of its sound.”
A rough translation, Wilmer says, would be: “I flood myself with the light of the immense”, though the vagueness of that is alien to the poem’s terse musicality. The open vowels and the repeated ms and ns create a mood of wonder, evoking the light of a new day starting to flood the sky.
“But the most surprising thing about ‘Mattino’ is the circumstance of its writing. Like most of Ungaretti’s first collection, it was written in the trenches during World War 1 [in 1917]. In its extreme brevity and its depth of affirmation, it epitomises all his war poetry. It is no accident, and it is not merely ironical, that the book is called L’Allegria (Joy).”
Umberto Saba (1883 – 1957) was born in Trieste, then the fourth-largest city in the Austria-Hungary empire. Destitute, in 1914 he and his wife and young family moved to Milan, where Saba worked first as a secretary, then as a nightclub manager. In early 1915 he began writing for Benito Mussolini’s Il popolo d’Italia newspaper, but in June was drafted into the Italian army. He was hospitalised with depression, an illness that dogged him all his life, and saw no active service.
Milano 1917 Per ogni via un soldato – un fante – zoppo va poggiato pian piano ul suo bastone, che nella mano libera ha un fagatto — Umberto Saba Milan 1917 In every street a solider – infantry – limps slowly, leaning on his stick, in his free hand carrying a bundle. — tr George Hochfield & Leonard Nathan54
Rene Maublanc (1891 – 1960), a French Marxist historian and teacher, wrote many haiku, his major work being Cent Haikais (100 Haiku, published in 1924). Although I can find no record of his having served in World War 1, a number of his haiku are about the war.
Surgit de l’herbe verte, Des coquelicots à la main, Le major ventru — Rene Maublanc55 rising from the green grass poppies in his hand, the portly major — tr Bertrand Agostini Nuit d’alerte. le projecteur à l’horizon Ouvre et ferme son éventail. — Rene Maublanc56 sirens in the night the spotlight on the horizon opens and closes her fan
Maublanc, a friend of Couchoud, lived in Reims where he started a regional review of literature and art, Le Pampre, which Agostini says was instrumental in propagating haiku among French speakers.
By 1911 the English poet, and later also novelist and biographer, Richard Aldington (1892 – 1962) was attending Imagist gatherings in London with Pound and others, meetings where Japanese poetry was much discussed and tanka and haiku written. Aldington used ukiyo-e in the British Museum as inspiration, copied and kept translations of Japanese poems and songs and, according to Earl Miner, carried to the battlefields of France a notebook for recording his own ‘hokku’. Although Aldington later wrote no poetry at all, he seemed to retain an interest in Japanese poetry all his life.57
Aldington enlisted in the British Army in 1916 and was wounded on the Western Front. By the end of the war he had a captain’s commission, had been gassed and was suffering from severe shell-shock.
Living Sepulchres One frosty night when the guns were still I leaned against the trench Making for myself hokku Of the moon and flowers and of snow But the ghostly scurrying of huge rats Swollen with feeding upon men’s flesh Filled me with shrinking dread. — Richard Aldington58
In his foreword to Love and War (1919), addressed to fellow Imagist poet F S Flint, Aldington writes: “[The poems] represent to some degree the often inarticulate feelings of the ordinary civilised man thrust suddenly into these extraordinary circumstances – feelings of bewilderment, bitterness, dumb revolt and rather piteous weakness. Poor human flesh is so easily rent by the shattering of explosive and the jagged shear of metal. Those of us who have seen it will never be quite happy again.”59
Three soldiers huddled on a bench Over a red-box brazier, And a fourth who stands apart Watching the cold rainy dawn. — Richard Aldington, from the longer poem, Picket Insouciance In and out of the dreary trenches Trudging cheerily under the stars I make for myself little poems Delicate as a flock of doves. They fly away like white-winged doves. — Richard Aldington
As a footnote to this section are the wartime experiences of two other figures who later came into the orbit of haiku, one in a peripheral way and the other a major scholar.
American poet, playwright, novelist and painter ee cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings, 1894 – 1962), briefly dabbled in haiku. A pacifist, Cummings volunteered as an ambulance driver in France in 1917 but was arrested on suspicion of treason for comments he’d made in letters home and was interned in France for almost four months. The charges were dropped (after some political pressure from his father) and he returned to the US on January 1, 1918 whereupon he was drafted into the US Army, serving at home. His account of his time in the internment camp, The Enormous Room, was published in 1922 to widespread praise.
Reginald Horace Blyth (1898 – 1964), later a renowned translator of haiku and author on the subject, was in 1916 imprisoned as a conscientious objector at Wormwood Scrubs in London before working on a Home Office scheme in the former and future Dartmoor Prison in southeast England. He moved to Korea (then under Japanese rule) in 1925 and to Japan in 1936, living there for the rest of his life.
Haiku in Japan 1902 – 1914
In the teen years of the 20th century in Japan haiku was in upheaval after the death of Masaoka Shiki in 1902, the man who had done so much to reform and revitalise haiku, but who had also written that he thought “haiku has already played itself out”, adding an emphasis to the words.
“Even assuming that the end is yet to come,” Shiki wrote, “we can confidently expect it to arrive sometime during the Meiji period”. [1868 – 1912] He believed the problem stemmed from a lack of mathematical opportunity, given that only 17 sound units could be employed.60
Kawahigashi Hekigodo (1873 – 1937) succeeded Shiki as haiku editor for Nippon newspaper and was, briefly, the most important figure in Japanese haiku. One of Shiki’s innovations had been to abandon all the rules for haiku – except for 5-7-5 and the season word. Hekigodo then decided to drop the count of 17 onji (sound units) in favour of “free verse” haiku. He retained the kigo because he felt it was an essential connection to the natural world.
Hekigodo’s students, led by Ogiwara Seisensui (who actually had been playing with free verse before Hekigodo), broke with him and began more radical experiments, including abandoning kigo. Takahama Kyoshi, who had left haiku to write novels, came back and advocated a return to traditional haiku in the once-radical Hototogisu. Caught between these two groups, Hekigodo became an increasingly isolated figure.61
will the town throw a festival for those brought back as bones? — Santoka Taneda, tr John Stevens62
The Russia-Japan War (1904 – 05) is a landmark in military history, and was seen so at the time. It was a war of unprecedented scale, producing more casualties, costing more money and keeping more soldiers fighting than any previous “modern” war. Large numbers of journalists, observers and experts from Russia, Japan and non-belligerent countries accompanied the military throughout the war.63
After the war the term ‘commoner literature’ was again applied to haiku, although in a positive sense, according to Robert Tuck.64 “Scholar Haga Yaichi’s preface to Iwaki Juntarō’s Meiji bungakushi (A History of Meiji Literature, published in 1906) states that ‘commoner literature’ (which included haikai) had played an instrumental role in spreading the ‘Bushidō’ and ‘patriotism’ that had contributed to Japan’s victory.
“However, for Shiki, ‘commoner literature’ was a contradiction in terms, and popularity and ease of access were synonymous with vulgarity. This would remain a keynote for the Nippon group, even after his death. Writing in early December 1902, Nippon group member Ueno Sansen (Ryōzaburō, 1866 – 1907) stressed . . . that haiku was not an easy form of poetry that anyone could do. Much like kanshi and tanka, Ueno argued, one needed the right kind of background and training; haiku may have been a ‘commoner literature’ under the old haikai masters, but under the new school it definitely was not.”
Undoubtedly, the most famous Japanese haiku on the theme of war – in English, at any rate – is:
natsukusa ya tsuwamonodomo go yume no ato summer grasses — all that remains of soldiers’ dreams — Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 99), composed on July 29, 1689
Jeffrey Sean Huo offers a scene-setting commentary:65
“The death of [the legendary military leader] Yoshitsune was as spectacular as his life. He calmly committed seppuku (samurai ritual suicide) while his oldest friend, the giant warrior-monk Benkei (Japan’s ‘Little John’) single-handedly held the door against an overwhelming number of enemy troops. The place where Benkei and Yoshitsune made their final stand was Hiraizumi, and it was here that Bashō composed a number of haiku, including the one above.
“Bashō is believed to have chosen the Japanese word ‘natsukusa’, in reference to the muggy, slimy, rank muck that summer’s oppressive humidity and heat turn the grasses of spring into, an appropriate vision, perhaps, of the chaos and treachery of war. By the time Basho visited Hiraizumi centuries later, those dank overgrown weeds were all that remained of the fortress in which Yoshitsune made his final stand.
“As Bashō himself comments in the Narrow Road to the Deep North:
‘The select band of loyal retainers who entrenched themselves here in this High Fort and fought so desperately – their glorious deeds lasted but a moment, and now this spot is overgrown with grass . . . We sat down upon our straw hats and wept, oblivious of the passing time.’”
Tuck notes “in passing” that Shiki may have been the first person to translate Bashō into English. “Shiki’s own translation and commentary on the above verse was: ‘The summer grasses! A trace of the soldiers’ dreams. This was composed when he looked at the barren state of an ancient battle field’.”
Shiki himself had had a taste of war-time conditions, if not any actual fighting. After many requests to his editor, he was sent to China in March 1895 to cover the Sino-Japanese War (1894 –95) although he already had the tuberculosis that would eventually kill him. Arriving too late to witness any actual hostilities, Shiki nevertheless almost died from the rigors of military life and the unsanitary conditions in which he was forced to travel.66
With more than 4,600 “German” soldiers interned in Japan after being captured in China during World War 1,67 it is an intriguing thought that haiku could have been a “mass inoculation” into Germany and eastern Europe after the war – especially as it seems cultural exchange went the other way with locals being shown how to bake bread, make pastries and sausages, play soccer, brew beer, etc.68 Most of the POWs remained in Japan for 5 years and it is reported that some 500 chose not to return to Europe, instead heading to China and Indonesia with some 150 staying in Japan.69 The prisoners consisted of not only soldiers from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, but also Czechs, Slovakians, Poles, Yugoslavians, some northern Italians and even Russians (Russia and Japan were part of the Allies).
The Anzac Experience
On April 25, 1915 New Zealand and Australian soldiers landed at a small bay on the Gallipoli peninsula in southwestern Turkey to mount a campaign devised by Winston Churchill that began badly and continued worse.70 By the end of the year evacuation was ordered, ironically efficient and organised – and not one man lost.
The smell of death floated over the ridge above and settled down upon us, tangible, it seemed, and clammy as the membrane of a bat’s wing. — Captain Compton Mackenzie, Scottish writer and officer, April 1915
Gallipoli was a costly failure for the Allies . . . and a costly victory for the Turks. Among the dead were 2,779 New Zealanders (5,221 wounded), about a fifth of those who fought on the peninsula, and 8,709 Australians (19,441 wounded) – while the Ottoman Empire lost 86,692 men dead with 164,617 wounded.71
waiting for dawn the bugler’s breath rising — Ross Clark Anzac parade shoulder to shoulder headless shadows — André Surridge
But lest we forget there were other nationalities fighting at Gallipoli too and their blood has also fed that barren land – 21,255 dead from Britain and Ireland and 52,230 wounded; 10,000 dead from France, 17,000 wounded; 1358 dead from India, 3421 wounded; 49 dead from Newfoundland, 93 wounded.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well. — Kemal Mustafa Atatürk, 1934, inscribed on a memorial at Gallipoli
In New Zealand there is a tendency to see the Anzac landing at Gallipoli – which on April 25, 2015 marked its centenary – as the most important battle for our soldiers in World War 1. But Gallipoli was blighted by poor command and ended in defeat, and isn’t regarded as a major offensive by military historians.
There were plenty of other killing fields waiting for Anzac soldiers – Ypres, Messines and Passchendaele in Belgium, the Somme in France – among them, as well as action in Palestine and Syria. The battles in Europe from 1916-18 were some of the bloodiest in New Zealand’s history. By the time the New Zealand Division was finally withdrawn from the Ypres front line in February 1918, there were more than 18,000 casualties – including some 5000 deaths – and three Victoria Crosses had been won for bravery.72
The New Zealand Division joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916 when 15,000 men went into action. Nearly 6,000 were wounded and 2,000 lost their lives. Over half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave. One was returned to New Zealand in 2004 and his remains now lie in the tomb of the Unknown Warrior outside New Zealand’s National War Memorial in Wellington.75
The Great War inspired much poetry both from poets and from men who were simply touched by the shock and awe – and a century later we still know the lines.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. — Laurence Binyon (1869 – 1943), from For the Fallen79 In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. — Major John McCrae (1872 – 1918), from In Flanders Fields80
With haiku relatively unknown in the English-speaking world at the time, it has been left to modern haiku poets to write on the theme of World War 1 with, consequently, most of the poetry in New Zealand about memorial services, particularly Anzac Day (April 25). The country’s national day of commemoration now encompasses all servicemen and women from the Boer War to Afghanistan and Iraq and so haiku about “Anzac Day” may be about any or all of these conflicts – but as our “old soldiers” fade away the sentiments and experiences remain largely the same through the generations.
As far as I am aware, Ernest J Berry is New Zealand’s only haiku poet with personal experience of war, having served in Korea as a medic (1950 – 53). 162 Haiku: a Korean War sequence features haibun and haiku by Ernie, with a contribution from American poet and fellow Korean War veteran Jerry Kilbride (Post Pressed, Australia, 2000). The book was awarded third place in the 2001 Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards. Both these haiku are from that book.
liberated village the survivor holds out his severed hand — Ernest J Berry winter air thick with bullets I keep whistling — Ernest J Berry
If we like to believe that our national identity was forged on the battlefields of World War 1, particularly Gallipoli, then I suppose that’s as good a place as any. It’s where, at the very least, this most docile of dominions began to question orders.
By now wounded men by the score were being brought back and laid along the track, all sorts of wounds. The stretcher bearers couldn’t cope with the number and soon there were no stretchers. I got an immediate demand from [Australian] Colonel Braund for more reinforcements but sent him a firm refusal. He then said as I would not send him up more reinforcements he would have to retire to his first position. I told him he never ought to have left it. — Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone (1859 – 1915), commander of the Wellington Battalion at Gallipoli84
Postscript: What Happened to Haiku in English?
In his essay ‘Tanka, Imagism and War’, John Gilliver85 writes that tanka (and we can safely read haiku here as well) did not get into quite the right hands in England and the US before 1914 and so was not sufficiently assimilated for an English tradition to be produced.
“It might also be said that by 1918 the tanka’s moment in English poetry had passed. After the First World War poets were writing longer poems again, and their concern was to offer a discursive analysis of the social condition. The new requirement was the topical; a poet needed to be engaged with the politically and socially relevant . . . By 1919 Imagism was running out, and the war had killed Georgian poetry.”
As the world recovered from war, as millions of people died from “Spanish flu” (1918 – 19, anything from 20 million to 40 million), as the Depression took hold and, finally, as Japan became an enemy to the English-speaking world, the path of haiku in English began to stutter and then vanish, hidden like a Brigadoon until after World War 2.
But that is a story for another day.
- Although the word ‘snapshot’ was already in use before World War 1, it became one of the words and phrases used in the trenches that passed into common use: Snapshot – from a quickly aimed and taken rifle shot. Read more here, accessed July 13, 2015. ↩
- Mountain Tasting by John Stevens. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- A Picture Before Dying: Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, Sarajevo, 1914 by Margaret MacMillan, Time magazine (July 16, 2014). Accessed July 12, 2015. ↩
- Wikipedia. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- Metropolitan Museum’s timeline of art history. Accessed May 7, 2015. ↩
- Wikipedia. Accessed April 21, 2015. ↩
- “A Child of the Sun: Katherine Mansfield, Tea and Japonisme” by Gerri Kimber, a paper presented to Shaping Modernism: Katherine Mansfield and her Contemporaries, University of Cambridge, 2011. Accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- ‘Archaeology of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, Wellington, New Zealand: “It’s all memories now. . . .”’ by Kevin L. Jones, published in New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, 1992, Vol. 14. Accessed May 6, 2015. ↩
- New Zealand by Laura Harper, Tony Mudd, Paul Whitfield (Rough Guides, 2002). Accessed May 6, 2015. ↩
- ‘Haiku as a Western Genre’ by Jan Walsh Hokenson, a chapter in Modernism Vol 1, edited by Ástráður Eysteinsson and Vivian Liska (John Bejamins Publishing, 2007). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- ‘The Development of French Haiku in the First Half of the 20th Century: Historical Perspectives’ by Bertrand Agostini, Modern Haiku 32.2 (2001). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- ‘Haiku as a Western Genre’ by Jan Walsh Hokenson. ↩
- The Unexpected Import: A disquisition on the days of proto-haiku by Brett B Bodemer, California Polytechnic State University, 1999, accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- Haiku in The Netherlands and Flanders by Max Verhart (undated). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- Agostini. ↩
- Wikipedia. Accessed August 11, 2015. ↩
- ‘Overview of Haiku in English’ by Jim Kacian, contained in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, editors Jim Kacian, Philip Rowland and Allan Burns (Norton, 2013). In turn, Kacian is quoting from Research Note: W G Aston by Charles Trumbull. Accessed by Simpson April 18, 2015. ↩
- The American Diary of a Japanese Girl by Yone Noguchi (236) published 1902. Accessed May 6, 2015. ↩
- Bodemer. ↩
- ‘What is a Hokku Poem?’ published in Rhythm (1912) and contained in Through the Torii by Yone Noguchi (E. Mathews, London 1914). Accessed April 22, 2015. ↩
- Introduction to Selected English Writings of Yone Noguchi, Vol 2, edited by Yoshinobu Hakutani (Associated University Presse, 1992). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- ‘The Origins of English Haiku’ by Prof. Edward Marx, a talk given to The Asiatic Society of Japan in Tokyo on June 18, 2007. Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- The Idea of a Colony: Cross-culturalism in Modern Poetry by Edward Marx (University of Toronto Press, 2004). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- ‘Haiku in English’ by Barbara Louise Ungar, Simply Haiku 5.3, 2007. Accessed April 21, 2015. ↩
- The Idea of a Colony, Marx. ↩
- The Road from Paris: French Influence on English Poetry, 1900 – 1920 by Cyrena N. Pondrom (Cambridge University Press, 1974). Accessed April 28, 2015. ↩
- “Tanka, Imagism and War” by John Gilliver, reprinted in Simply Haiku 5.2, 2007. Accessed May 1, 2015. ↩
- Bodemer. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Tanka and Haikai, Japanese Rhythms by Sadakichi Hartmann (author’s own edition, San Francisco, 1916). ↩
- Asian-American Poets: A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook by Guiyou Huang and Emmanuel Sampath Nelson (Greenwood Publishing, 2002). Accessed May 12, 2015. ↩
- ‘When Haiku was Poetry’ by Jim Kacian (big sky, Red Moon Press, US, 2006). ↩
- ‘Notes from the Front: Katherine Mansfield’s literary response to the Great War’ by Dr Gerri Kimber, a chapter in The Great Adventure Ends: New Zealand and France on the Western Front (John Douglas Publishing, NZ) 2013. Accessed April 21, 2015. ↩
- ‘An Indiscreet Journey’ by Katherine Mansfield, published in Katherine Mansfield, the Complete Stories (Golden Press, NZ, 1974). ↩
- NZ Herald report of the anniversary of Leslie Heron Beauchamp’s death, September 26, 2015. Read more at: A call for papers for CFP: Katherine Mansfield, Leslie Beauchamp & World War One, an international symposium in Messines, Belgium, September 26-27, 2015. Accessed May 7, 2015. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online website. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Translations of the French haiku in this section are by Sandra Simpson unless stated. ↩
- Japan, France, and East-West Aesthetics: French Literature, 1867 – 2000 by Jan Hokenson (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2004). Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online website. ↩
- Haiku from this website. Accessed April 19, 2015. ↩
- ‘Haiku as a Western Genre’, Hokenon. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online website. ↩
- ‘Haiku as a Western Genre’, Hokenson. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Tempres Libres website. Accessed July 13, 2015. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online. Accessed April 24, 2015. ↩
- Clive Wilmer review of a translated edition of Collected Poems by Giuseppe Ungaretti. Accessed April 21, 2015. ↩
- Armistice Day: On the Blindness of War, Washblog website. Accessed April 22, 2015. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online website. Accessed April 22, 2015. ↩
- Translation from Washblog. ↩
- Wilmer review. ↩
- Songbook: The Selected Poems of Umberto Saba (Yale University Press, 2008). Accessed May 1, 2015. ↩
- Terebess Asia Online. Accessed April 21, 2015. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Richard Aldington and Japan: A Critical Bibliography by David Ewick (1996). Accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- Emerging from Absence: An Archive of Japan in English-language Verse. Accessed April 18, 2015. The poem appeared in the collection Images of War published in 1919. ↩
- Richard Aldington: Poet, Soldier and Lover 1911 – 1929 by Vivien Whelpton (Lutterworth Press, 2014). Accessed May 1, 2015. ↩
- Masaoka Shiki: His Life and Works by Janine Beichman (Cheng & Tsui, 2002). Accessed May 23, 2015. ↩
- everything website. Accessed May 23, 2015. ↩
- Mountain Tasting by John Stevens. ↩
- The Russo-Japanese War in Cultural Perspective, 1904 – 05, edited by David Wells and Sandra Wilson (Palgrave Macmillan, 1987). Accessed May 7, 2015. ↩
- The Poetry of Dialogue: Kanshi, Haiku and Media in Meiji Japan, 1870 – 1900 by Robert James Tuck (Columbia University, 2012). Accessed May 7, 2015. ↩
- Commentary by Jeffrey Sean Huo, The Wondering Minstrels blog. Accessed May 7, 2015. ↩
- Tuck. ↩
- International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- The Free Library. Accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- Rio Imamura blog. Accessed April 20, 2015. ↩
- Wikipedia. Accessed April 6, 2015. ↩
- New Zealand History website. Accessed May 8, 2015. ↩
- NZ History website. Accessed April 6, 2015. ↩
- Kokako 22 (New Zealand, April 2015). The haiku refers to the project initiated by the National Army Museum, a patriotic ‘call to yarn’, to produce one hand-crafted poppy for each person lost by New Zealand in the Great War (18,166 poppies). In the end some 30,000 were sent. Accessed April 23, 2015. ↩
- Kokako 22. For Rifleman Private John Owen. He left New Zealand in June 1917, completed basic training in the UK and died of his wounds on December 9, 1917, aged 38. He is buried at Lijssenthoek military cemetery in Belgium. His medals were returned to my widowed great-grandmother, his “friend” and next-of-kin. ↩
- NZ History website. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- a wattle seedpod by Lorin Ford (Post Pressed, Australia, 2008). ↩
- breath by Sandra Simpson (Piwakawaka Press, Tauranga, NZ, 2011). ↩
- still heading out. ↩
- Laurence Binyon composed his best-known poem while sitting on a cliff-top and looking out to sea from the north Cornish coastline. He said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. He was too old to enlist but in 1916 worked for the Red Cross as a medical orderly. The poem was published in The Times newspaper on September 21, 1914. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- With the chaplain called away, John McCrae, as brigade doctor, was asked in May 1915 to perform the burial service for a fellow Canadian and later that night began to compose his poem. Accessed April 18, 2015. ↩
- Free XpresSion (Australia, August 2014). ↩
- Bravado 3 (New Zealand, 2004). ↩
- From “Pearl Beach Village Hall” April 25, 2006, a haiku sequence (Blithe Spirit 16.2 (UK), 2006). ↩
- An extract from the diary of William Malone on the New Zealand History website. Accessed May 8, 2015. Malone was killed by a British shell during the August assault on Chunuk Bair. Read more here. ↩
- Gilliver. ↩