War Is a Kigo

In War is a Kigo column, we shall feature haiku that paint a picture of war – be it the scorched earth patch in a garden, the bloodied swing in the park, the wails of children, the agony of the parents, the untended houseplants, the dog searching for its human, and what not. The horrors of war are many. Our intention behind running this column is to remind ourselves of the horrors that are happening elsewhere that we are often unaware of or ignore because we will surely become sad thinking about all the suffering, to provide an outlet to our angst and helplessness sitting a world away from the conflict being able to do nothing, to record the bravery and tragedy on behalf of the victims in the only way we could. Through art. Through haiku.

I say, War is a Kigo. I wrote the following haiku with a little illustration a couple of years ago, I don’t know during which conflict. But the history of human race makes it quite evident that in terms of our experience of time, war is indeed a season. A season that spans year-long over some regions on Earth where all other seasons are pushed aside to accommodate this one.

At the time of this writing in March 2022, everyone is talking about the Russia-Ukraine war. But wars, war-like conflicts that kill thousands of people, are happening in places like Yemen, Afghanistan. Indeed they have been happening in many places around the world all round the year, every year but they don’t get much attention. Why, is a whole another can of worms.

There is also this ironic relationship between war and haiku. At least in my mind that is and I won’t mince words when I touch that relationship because it is the truth every which way you look at it. Japan’s poetry form haiku has become so popular all over the world, written in many countries in their native language even. I’m will not go and find out if haiku made in-roads into English literature before World War II, I think it did, but the fact is:

atomic bombs
for them, for us
their poetic forms

The bombing by Japan on Pearl Harbor in USA killed 2,390 people, most of them US service members.

The nuclear bombing by USA (and UK, apparently they had to approve the attack) on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, mostly civilians.

… and we write haiku.

— Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta
Founding Editor


Submitting Haiku For War Is a Kigo Column

It is true that you might not be able to work-in all the traditional haiku writing conventions into your haiku about war and there will be exceptions in our selections for this reason. But nevertheless we are still looking for haiku that have a natural element in them, haiku that describe a brief moment in time or thought, a juxtaposition of two images that evoke a response in the reader.

We will announce calls for submission on our Twitter account @HaikuSeed_, there is no fixed schedule as of now for this column. You are requested to submit your haiku through the Google Form we will make available during the submission period.

Copyrights Disclaimer:
  • All featured works are copyrighted to the respective writers. We would love it if you cite being our journal if your work is going to be published elsewhere, no obligations though.
  • Photos used in our journal are taken by and copyrighted to Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta unless stated otherwise.