Summer or Winter?

Fiona Kernaghan

My interest in Wabi Sabi aesthetics and philosophy has led me to discover Haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry where the poems consist of only 3 lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku poem have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. Interestingly, the lines rarely rhyme. The lack of rhyme is a challenge for me, as a songwriter, and with songs being so traditionally rhyme reliant. However, the brevity of Haiku really resonates with me!

Economy is something I paid a lot of attention to as I was learning my craft in the early days, and being succinct is something I still hold to and love about songwriting. The idea is to create emotional impact in only a few seconds or minutes at most.

Like a lot of my recent songs, Haiku is closely informed by nature. To me, it elegantly captures the subtle feeling behind the change of seasons. Keep in mind this is a particularly odd time of year for me because after living in America for so long I still feel like it must be spring and summer’s ahead, but here in the southern hemisphere we’re actually feeling that subtle pull inward of winter approaching! Either way, the change always stirs something in me…

Here are a couple of examples of Haiku poetry – one about summer and one about winter.

Grasses in summer.

The warriors’ dreams

All that left.

Winter solitude –

in a world of one color

the sound of wind.


(both by Matsuo Basho).