Brief Notes on "Kire-ji"


furu-ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto @(Basho)
old pond frog jumps in sound of splash

This one is so popular that you never fail to know about it in your study of haiku.
The old pond has long been confined in a winter scene. This haiku conveys a fresh breath and an expanding joy of early spring with the sound of splash.

"Ya" that follows "furu-ike" is called "kire-ji" or "cutoff word" and plays an extremely important role in this haiku: "ya" delivers a clear image of an old pond deserted in a gloomy winter field and spares wordy description.
Let me explain a little more about kire-ji."Ya","kana","keri", or "nari" and other kire-ji effectively add to the author's feeling in a short haiku or speak for omitted words. Kire-ji, in this respect, provides a structural support for haiku. While not a few in number, those without kire-ji still inherit the refined traditions and rhythm of kire-ji as modified over time. Examples are such works of haiku as are noted for refined sharpness. Haiku that values omission always seeks perfection by use of kire-ji or its concept, I think.
Please note an established rule that kire-ji is used just once in a haiku. Two kire-ji might blur the message of a short poem of 17 sylla-bles.