Today I want to have a look at the haiku technique, double entendres or double meanings, give you an example I wrote myself and then we are off to visit with a couple of poets we have met before, Roger Watson and Goran Gatalica.

Thanks so much for your feedback on the last podcast. It seems like the blackbird haiku struck a note with many of you:

summer drought
under the laurel leaves
a dead blackbird

Thanks in particular to Nicholas Klacsanzky who made a suggestion that I was taken with, reminding me, because I needed it, that I was perhaps telling too much. He suggested that the word drought was too much, and I think he is right, so at the moment the haiku reads like this:

under the laurel leaves
a dead blackbird

thus leaving the reader to think about why the bird might be dead under the laurel leaves. Much obliged Nicholas.

I have been putting off thinking about the technique of double entendres, I thought that it would be too difficult. It seems to me that this method leaves a piece open to misinterpretation or to being too clever, even incomprehensible.

What is this technique all about?

Very simply it is “saying one thing and meaning another.” (1) Double entendre examples usually have one obvious meaning and use innuendo to suggest the second meaning. (2) The second meaning might be sexual or smutty but it doesn’t have to be.

A smutty example

ought one laugh or cry
when my Morning Glory
withers up
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold) (3)

A double meaning centred on the word reflection from
Nicholas Klacsanzky:

the subway car window
shows only darkness . . .
and my reflection (4)

Virgil Hutton: (5)
migrating swallows;
the gentle fall
of rain and leaves

Larry Gross (5)
the still air
before and after
my passing

my alteration:
the still air
before and after
his passing

This is what I managed to come up with this week. It took me all week and was inspired by one of my bike trips. Actually, it’s something I regularly come across:

a hedgerow
he waters the bushes
with his hose

At the moment there is a problem between the first and second line, I don’t feel they link well enough, but I’ll keep at it and see if I can find a solution.

So who are we meeting this week?

Our first poet is Goran Gatalica, our scientist from Croatia from whom we last heard in episode 33. His senryu fits with our theme of the week.

gleaming stars –
behind the old tin factory
kids are playing

Our next poet is Roger Watson, remember we met him recently in episode 31. He is our well travelled Professor of Nursing from the current UK city of culture, Hull. I particularly enjoyed this senryu because of the personal connection to my childhood. It also fits very well with this week’s theme, the double meaning pivoting on the word decades, at least the way I read it.

rosary beads
smooth and polished
decades of my life

My thanks to our two guest poets this week, brilliant work as always and if you would like to know more about them please go to the links.

  1. Jane Reichhold: Writing and Enjoying Haiku. A hands on guide.
  4. The Other Bunny, June 18, 2018
  5. Haiku Moment. An anthology of contemporary North American Haiku edited by Bruce Ross

Goran Gatalica:

Roger Watson:
His blog:

Week 41: Innuendo

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