Articles /Interviews

The Role of Seasons in Indian Haiku


Continued from "The Indianness in Contemporary Haiku"

Haiku is always written with a seasonal reference in order to reveal the deep relationship between the seasons and the emotions and behaviors of human, animals, birds, plants. Here, I am bringing out the few seasonal words [Kigo] from my collection to mean the four seasons.

Creating an apt seasonal reference, which is completely fresh by itself, is the biggest challenge in getting the observed event artistic and surprising in a haiku. It makes the haiku more revealing and resonant.

A new haiku poet generally adopts the existing setting of kigo shared by experienced writers. This existing set would only suit for writers who reside in a country from where the existing kigo set originated. So there is a challenge here for every haiku poet to find a kigo for their own country which has very unique seasonal references hidden to get revealed. 

Over experience, there will be an inner urge to find the deep meaning of the observed event in a season and that is when exceptional kigo will start to fall in place in a poet’s haiku. 

Kigo as seasonal reference also helps to give a clear cut idea of the event and prevents the   event being falling into a gray area especially when a seasonal transition takes place.  

Seasonal Words


new year’s wishes, rangoli Patterns, remaining snow, waters of spring, sound of fountain, Lingering heat, spring drizzle, rainwater harvest, train pane mist, paddy Field, calmness, the smell of boiling rice

new year’s wishes
sprouts between the
concrete slabs

new year's eve
rangoli patterns
in the street


rainbow season, sun bath, cutoff kite, double rainbow, summer dream, burning sunshine, midday rain, kiting day, cloud peaks, tonguing an ice-cream, holidays end, beach sunset,
humid beach, path of cowries.

summer dream
counting the butterflies
in neighbor’s garden

rainbow, the sun rising
on its mirror

patches of twilight, monsoon’s end, evening moon, day moon, breath of illness, autumn dusk, stillness of the goldfish, a native voice, tombstone’s shadow, white hair, maple leaves, autumn loneliness, wrinkles, autumn drizzle, autumn dawn, ice box, last word.

autumn sky -
patches of twilight
in the falling leaf

autumn haze –
a breath of illness in
my speech   

winter crossroad, winter’s stillness, winter rain, winter mist, winter clouds, winter’s loneliness, lungi shivering, short day, winter twilight, winter moon.

First talk, first dawn, first meeting, first snow, first drizzle.

holding on
with what she left behind 
winter moon

full moon –
winter’s stillness
in a soap bubble  

More by : Ramesh Anand
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