Part 3 – Resonance

I continue with rasa and resonance today, for rasa plays a very important role in how Indians understand art forms and resonance plays an equally important and crucial role in haiku.

What is rasa?

What is that ‘something’ that gives sugar its sweetness?

That is what rasa — the aesthetic essence — is to a work of art. Just as the wave is part of the ocean but still rises repeatedly from the ocean and reaches the shore to touch you, so is ‘rasa’ an intrinsic part of any work of art, but arises constantly out of that art to touch your being. That ‘connect’ I spoke about last Monday.

Rasa means the aesthetic emotion – a flavour, the distilled essence of the mood created in the listener’s mind — the residue left in our minds after we appreciate a piece of art.

Haiku relies on resonance. As I’ve told you, I have been drawn to a particular haiku a number of times  simply because the poem continues to echo in my mind and begins to live in my memory . . . it reverberates, adding more texture and resonance as the years pass.

Enjoy these haiku, which I don’t think need explanation. Do give special attention to the way words reflect and link to one another, giving unity and completeness to the words coming together as a poem. See how Basho uses a filming technique of zooming in on a whitefish. Nick Virgilio’s ‘lily’ became world famous, and most of us have tried our version of ‘out of itself!’ It all culminates in the ‘haiku spirit,’ of which poets speak so highly.  .

If a certain haiku flies above your head, let it go. Move on to the next one, but do come back to it later!

After the storm
a boy wiping the sky
from the tables

— Darko Plazanin Sambo



In the twilight of dawn
A whitefish, with an inch
Of whiteness

— Matsua Basho
Tr. by Makoto Ueda


lily . . .
out of the water
out of itself

— Nick Virgilio

far down the railroad tracks

the brakeman’s lantern

gets lost among the fireflies

— Alan Pizzarelli

spring scents
the dog and I walk
through different worlds

— Kirsty Karkow


night songs
gathering oneness
a wolf’s howl

— Kala Ramesh


above the moor
not attached to anything
a skylark sings

— Matsua Basho
Tr. by Makoto Ueda


doing laundry
at the river’s edge
the flow of gossip

— Angelee Deodhar


migrating geese—
the things we thought we needed
darken the garage

— Chad Lee Robinson


Kala RameshPassionate about taking haiku to everyday spaces, Kala Ramesh initiated the ‘HaikuWALL India,’ where she gets graffiti artists to paint haiku on city walls. As an external faculty member of the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts she teaches undergrads haiku and other allied Japanese short forms of poetry. One can reach Kala Ramesh via

Publishing credits:
After the storm: Ehime Prefecture, 1990 National Cultural Festival
lily: American Haiku: 1.2
far down the railroad tracks: Paperclips Press Here 2001
spring scents: shorelines 2007.
night songs: cattails – January 2016
above the moor: Basho and his Interpreters by Makoto Ueda
doing laundry: Asahi Shimbun, May 2014.
migrating geese: The Heron’s Nest  XIII.1
The copyright of the haiku rests with the authors. Nick Virgilio’s haiku rests with his estate.
Copyright of the page title and content of this page rests with Kala Ramesh.

Kala Ramesh

Kala Ramesh

Passionate about taking haiku to everyday spaces, Kala Ramesh initiated the ‘HaikuWALL India,’ where she gets graffiti artists to paint haiku on city walls. As an external faculty member of the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, she teaches undergrads haiku and other allied Japanese short forms of poetry. One can reach Kala Ramesh via The haiku feature appears every Monday on Pune365.
Kala Ramesh

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