Cause and Effect



Cause and Effect, C&E


Simple statements of cause and effect are best avoided, but with the skillful use of a CUT MARKER, you can express it, see below.

A good haiku proceeds in the way you experience the things around you and inversion for the sake of an artificial AHA moment is best avoided.

Many haiku also proceed from the far away general sceen to the close by, as you focus on the nature at your feet, so to say.


枯れ枝や 朝日に光る白い苔
kareeda ya asahi ni hikaru shiroi koke

withered branches -
their white moss sparkles
in the morning sun

asa no hi ya kareeda ni hikaru shiroi koke

morning sunshine -
white moss sparkles
on withered branches

NO CUTTING WORD ... NO Japanese Equivalent
just for the sake of this exercise, using an inversion of line 2 and 3 which I do not favour in my haiku.

morning sunshine
on withered branches
the white moss sparkles

© Gabi Greve, October 2007


According to Hasegawa Kai sensei, the working of the cut is to bring out the relation between cause and effect.
Cause is the happening NOW.
Effect (something lingering in my mind plus CUT MARKER) pops up.
in a good haiku, say what is still remaining in your heart first (with a CUTTING word).
Meaning, the result, the effect is stated first, then the cause, the reason for what triggered this now.

I saw the white sparkle first, then the sunshine came into mind.

The third example has no Japanese equivalent.
The English reader might read a pause after line one or two, or maybe pivot ... theories are many.


paraphrasing some famous ku of Basho with this interpretation in mind

shizukesa ya iwa ni shimi-iru semi no koe

(there was) silence! (The silence that was!)
(now I hear) the shrill of cicadas
seeping into rocks

Basho and the SILENCE haiku discussion

furu ike ni kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

(when) the frog jumped in
(I heared) the sound of water
of the old pond

furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

(that made me remember, I was sitting by)
the old pond ...
(when) the frog jumped in
(I heared) the sound of water ...

Basho and the OLD POND haiku discussion


Some quotes from the WWW

William J. Higginson:

Another haiku in this issue that grabbed me and had me returning more than once is Keith Heiberg's poem:

sudden gust
in the maple:
forgotten rain

There’s some discussion these days of “cause-and-effect haiku”—as being somehow defective. But many haiku that follow Harold G. Henderson’s suggestion that a haiku should proceed in the order of perception seem, at first glance, to merely report a cause and its effect. The poem above almost seems so, yet it keeps drawing me back. On first reading, I smiled at the apt and compact expression of a common phenomenon: We get splattered by drops of a previous rain storm when a wind suddenly shakes them out of a tree.

But, on rereading, I noticed that this haiku gives me more. I hear the “sudden gust” in the whir and clatter of the maple leaves. And what follows is not just the effect, but a new sensation, the chilly raindrops splattering on pavement, on cars or a building, on my skin. Bob Spiess used to say that multiple-sensory haiku were often better than the simply visual, and I agree. And I richly enjoy “sudden gust” for that amazing percussion and woodwind concert in the maple and the sudden splash on my face that ends it.

source :  www.roadrunnerjournal.net


Kathy Lippard Cobb :

9) Avoid cause and effect in haiku -- where something in one part of the haiku causes action in the second part.


heavy rain--
my shirt clings
to my body

It's not only boring, it's too obvious. You can have cause and effect, IF it's contained in one part of the haiku.


a leaf spirals
in the summer wind--
his good-bye letter

This kind of cause and effect is o.k., as it's contained in one part of the haiku. Then, you can add something else for the third line, such as I did here. I used a good-bye letter to juxtapose with the leaf. These are two very lonely images. You can add whatever you like in the third line. Don't tell the reader they should feel lonely, show it.

There ARE haiku that have cause and effect, where something in the first part of the haiku, causes action in the second half.
However, usually, there is another level of meaning present. It's not just simple cause and effect, as in my "heavy rain" example.

source :  www.shadowpoetry.com


Susumu Takiguchi :

A famous tale goes that a brave member of a certain remote haiku organisation of a far-away country was officially purged after committing the capital crime of refusing to use a kigo. If the same school, or any other schools for that matter, makes a rule to prohibit metaphor, anthropomorphism, sentence or cause and effect, then that would be unreasonable, quite possibly mistaken and it should not be called a rule but something else, such as 'recommendation' or 'advice'.
If the 'fragment and phrase' concept was made a rule, it would be a misuse of this otherwise useful idea.
It should be called something like an 'expert's tip' or a 'useful knack'.

source :  WORLD HAIKU REVIEW, 2007

. . . More online reference . . .


On effect and cause,
on voiced choice or chosen voice,
few ponder, all pause.

On cause and effect,
on scene set or foreseen,
must Mankind project...

© Jonathan Robin haiku written 4 March 2002


The use of a PIVOT LINE in English Haiku

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