haiku on silk

by Marie Marshall

Today I received a note from David Cobb. David was a founder member, past secretary, and past president of the British Haiku Society. He is a renowned poet, haijin, editor of many books including Haiku (British Museum Press), and is probably the UK’s most respected authority on haiku. The note was to tell me that British-resident Japanese haijin and artist Yoshiko Torii had translated one of my haiku into Japanese. The note ran:

The person who was supervising the ‘Silks and Haiku’ exhibition at the St Pancras Crypt Gallery had the rather sweet idea of translating your haiku into Japanese and making a haiga* of it. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of her translation, but I hope it will please you… The two scarves, on one of which your haiku appears, are now in the BHS possession and will be displayed at the upcoming AGM Day in Conway Hall, London…

I have to say that this was both unexpected and gratifying. It adds another language to the list of those into which pieces of mine have been translated (the list already includes Russian, Welsh, and Gaelic), and another location and medium to the list of those in which pieces of mine have been displayed (that list already includes the walls of a cafe in Wales and an art gallery on the isle of Mull, and etched into an African drum at the New Orleans Museum of Art).


* Haiga is a form of expression which combines the use of words and calligraphy which go to make up haiku with visual art. Often the drawing would be done with the same brush and ink as was used for the words, and even if the drawing seemed obviously unrelated to the words the two would form a single work of art. I’m aware that this definition is an oversimplification but so many words are spent in discussing these simple forms – many more words and effort than are spent in executing them.  M.