semaphore at night – fusion haiku

The prompt for Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #44 Troiku Challenge: Against the Sky
starts with two haiku by Yosa Buson (translated by Robert Hass) to be used to create
a “fusion” haiku, which is then to be the base to create a troiku.

before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
a moment

calligraphy of geese
against the sky —
the moon seals it

               Yosa Buson

semaphore at night
calligraphy in the sky
moon waits behind clouds

semaphore at night_fusion

semaphore at night.jpgsemaphore at night
element of mystery
embracing pale light

calligraphy in the sky
secrets held in shifting shapes
crafted by wind’s breath

moon waits behind clouds
displaying quiet patience
secret deciphered

semaphore at night_troiku

A troiku is three haiku, with each of the three lines from a suggested haiku as the first line of each haiku in the troiku. It’s not always possible to have a 5-7-5 format in the second haiku, due to the limitations of the suggested haiku. The name of the form is derived from “troika,” a sled or carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side, an iconic symbol of Imperial Russia.


Image sources: (Flying Geese, by Kamisaka Sekka)
Wikimedia Commons (troika)


31 thoughts on “semaphore at night – fusion haiku

  1. the use of “semaphore” is interesting … very interesting indeed …. and unusual …. and honestly, I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit with this use, but that’s okay, I’ll linger longer …. because I like the word very much, and the general image it conjures, because geese do look exactly like this in flight … and mysterious messages are codes to be understood …

    and I particularly like the 2nd haiku in the troiku – writing in the sky … indeed …. it’s really very elegant for the imagery 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, I crafted this with the thought of the moon being the source of the semaphore, obscured/revealed/obscured by the clouds. The calligraphy was almost an afterthought, the geese inferred, but never mentioned – and then I found the art that seemed to hold it all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ah, well thank you for sharing these ideas here, I really appreciate it Ken.

        By the light of day, I sit with your fusion + haiku + troiuk and realize, I clearly interpreted the haiku in a completely different way …. I was thinking more on the geese, and how they fly at night … sigh – my apologies for having been too tired perhaps when I visited.
        and yes, I can now much better understand how you came to the moon as semaphore …
        but, I still like the idea of geese writing on the sky, so I’m also going to keep that within my heart as I read and savour your poems.
        Thanks again Ken for your explanations and I hope I wasn’t being too forward in my original comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Stunningly beautiful, Ken–and yes, the mystery, too.
    Semaphore is a beautiful word, but I have to admit that when I hear it, I first think of a Monty Python skit where they do the semaphore version of Wuthering Heights. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sure I had heard semaphore before, but looked it up as a reminder… and thusly you inspired:
    (maybe I’ll work it into a troiku another time. – Thank you. Lovely verses.
    Hmm… might add it to Frank’s haikai this week 😉

    semaphore on shore
    lifeguards communicating
    a top tower chairs


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 8.7 (s) signals, seagulls and sentinels /haiku-trioku | Jules Longer Strands of Gems

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s