Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Today, to evoke the participatory spirit of National Poetry Month (and to investigate my suspicion that this blog's only readers are web-cruising robots), I am announcing an exciting contest. Can't you hear the excitement in my voice?

Last night we looked at Basho's "frog" haiku and read seventeen translations, interpretations, and riffs in English. The game is simple: write an "translation" of your own and share it with (a thin sliver of) the world using the "post a comment" form below.

The text, again, translated directly:

furu (old) ike (pond) ya ([!] [,] [:])
kawazu (frog) tobi komu (jumping into)
mizu (water) no ([possesive particle]) oto (sound)

These are your raw materials. Refine them into something of your own expression.

You can approach this however you're inclined. If you want to take the traditionalist route and rephrase/reframe it with an inclination towards parsimonious grace, do it. If you'd rather write a 5-7-5 haiku with a gag ending, go for it. If you want to write a piece of microfiction, a dialogue, or some metafictional review of The Old Pond for the iOS, make it so.

reread the haiku
consider its resonance
type and click submit

The prize for the winning "frog" will be a one-pound bag of authentic Quaker granola, shipped to a mailing address of your choice (I recommend choosing the address where your mailbox is located), totally free of charge.

(I just know I'm going to regret this. Somebody from Europe or Central Africa is going to appear out of nowhere and post something brilliant.)

I'm not expecting a deluge of submissions, so consider this: if you're the only person who posts something, the prize is yours. If only two people post frogs of their own, you've still got a 50% chance of earning the granola and the glory.

But whatever. Do please just write something for the pleasure and challenge of writing.

The deadline is May 1st (a week from today). Get splashing!


  1. Clever pond invites
    The frog that leaps without sight
    No splash tells earth's might

  2. "śūnya"

    the sinner man's regret
    begged for a lowly form, maybe an insect or
    a frog
    as retribution.
    sliding beneath the groaning water of the old pond,
    pockets heavy with stones,
    his repentance instead granted him

  3. An emerald ribbon
    The world inside a pond
    Leaps forth with no splash

  4. Inflatable pool
    Frog doing a belly flop
    The sound of shrieking

  5. The frog-prince sits, croaks
    Waiting... waiting... -fly! waiting...
    Will the day come? Splash.

  6. Logged on. I was asked
    to consider a frog and
    its splash in a pond.

    I learned something new
    about myself today. Seems
    I will write for food.

  7. A frog, a pond, a sound - Panama!

  8. Emailed to me (and pasted here for friends' reading pleasure):

    Point of view into being:
    An amphibian
    Leaves home, heads out for a walk

  9. isn't it strange how
    an old pond becomes the frog's
    with only a splash

  10. (Am I too late?)

    Old pond;
    I know you by
    The light displaced
    Within a splash.