Written for: Carpe Diem #935, Cicada
The trick in using this technique is to state the riddle in as puzzling terms as possible. What can one say so that the reader cannot easily figure out the answer? The more intriguing the setup, and the closer the correlation between the images, the better the haiku seems to work. The old masters’ favorite tricks with riddles ran along these lines: “Is that a flower falling or a butterfly?” or “Is that snow on the plum branch or the blossoms?” and the all-time favorite: “Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man or a man dreaming I am a butterfly?”
Sometimes the riddle is not actually set up as a question but makes a statement of improbability. At times the author supplies the answer of how this other reality can be; at other times the reader is left to find the solution.
If you are going to try this haiku writing technique, you can ask yourself the question: if I saw snow on a branch, what else could it be? Or seeing a butterfly going by you ask yourself what else besides a butterfly could that be?
from a treetop
emptiness dropped down
in a cicada shell
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
entering the realm of the clouds
© Chèvrefeuille (our host)
Here is my attempt:
autumn rains down
insect stuck on pavement–
crumpled brown leaf