Written for: Carpe Diem Theme Week 3: Magnolia Blossoms, haiku by Soseki Natsume; episode 6, “Autumn’s Shadow”
Soseki Natsume was always on search for a new style of haiku writing in which he tried to bring surrealism and fantasy together. It was his lifetime goal as Basho had with his karumi styled haiku. So I did some research on this idea and I ran into a wonderful article at Roadrunner, a haiku e-zine about this idea by Soseki Natsume. In the mentioned article Soseki’s ideas were briefly spoken about, Here is part of that article in a slightly revised setting.
“Soseki Natsume, a contemporary of Shiki, was very busy with re-creating the haiku style. He brought surrealism and fantasy together in his haiku. Natsume Sōseki, considered one of Japan’s greatest writers, published “Ten Nights of Dream” in 1908.
Susan Napier, in her book “The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity”, explains how Sōseki’s Ten Nights of Dream, published in 1908, “[i]n its effective development of a surreal atmosphere of Otherness, combined with its imaginative use of the notion of dream itself, [. . . ] creates a liminal literary world which is clearly that of the twentieth century. It is a world which Freud or Jung would certainly have recognized in terms of its suffocating representation of such peculiarly modern anxieties as crises of identity and free-floating guilt, expressed through archetypal imagery”. She goes on to note that “ . . . Sōseki and other writers of Japanese fantasy created works that appeal to non-Japanese readers at the same time as they used specifically Japanese elements to portray concerns particular to modern Japan”.
And here are a few haiku to inspire you in which Soseki Natsume tried to use this idea of surrealism and fantasy:
Into a man
as tiny as a violet
may I be reborn!
In the basin,
as I wash my face, there rises
The piercing cold—
I marry a plum blossom
in a dream.
© Soseki Natsume (Tr. Makoto Ueda)
Here is my attempt:
In the mirror
someone sticks their tongue out
I laugh at the image