How haiga happens

2AM

Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually haiku. In Basho’s time (1644 – 1694), haiga meant a brushed ink drawing combined with one of his single poems handwritten as part of the picture. Today, haiga can be watercolor paintings, photographs or collages with a poem of any genre that is integrated into the composition. In my case, it is all digital. It usually begins with the photo. Sometimes something striking arrests my attention and makes me think, “I could write a poem on this!” And so, as I sit and gaze at the image, feelings stir awake, mental sap begins to flow and bits and pieces of a poem, usually a haiku, begin to emerge. It usually takes a day or two, like a long laboured childbirth. Only rarely, it bursts out all at once, as though the baby was unwilling to hang around in the birth canal and was impatient to be born.

The above haiga happened the other way around. I had written a tanka for the prompt ‘2AM’ for dVerse Poets and was about to post it when – always looking for a challenge – I decided to create a haiga. The poem did not lend itself to visual representation very well since it’s all happening in the dark. Initially, I had thought that I would take a photo of my bedside digital clock and somehow make it scream in Photoshop. Nah! Too much work. Then, the idea of frightened eyes presented itself. Luckily, I found this photo I had taken a couple of years ago of myself and was lying forgotten somewhere on my PC. After that it was a breeze to edit it and superimpose the poem.

Advertisements