Welcome to the haiku pea podcast from a snowy and very chilly Switzerland. This is episode 52 of the Haiku Pea podcast, the last of the year, but I’m already looking forward to talking to you again in the new year with new topics and pieces of work that I hope you will enjoy.

This week I am talking about another element of Japanese aesthetics, Yugen, as well as bringing you work from Giddy Nielson Sweep and Ramlawt Dinpuia and something from me too.

Before I continue I have a few bits and pieces of housekeeping.

First of all some of you may have had some emails from me and wondered what was going on, basically before I went on my little break my email server had a wobble and in the process of fixing it an email I was working on, went to everybody in the whole wide world that I know. So if you got it my apologies, all seems to be well now with the emails.

On a brighter note my congratulations to Roger Watson for a great run of publications in the Haiku Society of America anthology, Blithe Spirit; ephemerae; the British Haiku Society Anthology and Failed haiku.

Congrats too to Su Wai Hlaing, Nicholas Klacsanzky and Isabel Caves for having their Autumn poems published on Jalmurra,(1) an online journal started by the lovely Kate Alsbury.

I’m thrilled to tell you that Su Wai has also been included in the Living Haiku Anthology, well done Su Wai and Nicholas came 3rd, in the International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, (2) 2018

and last but definitely not least Mark Gilbert was featured on The Haiku Foundation’s per diem, terrific Mark!

If I have missed any of your successes, please let me know, I find it inspiring to hear that your writing has been appreciated and I know other people are encouraged by it too.

The Haiku Pea podcast was listed as one of the top thirty poetry podcasts to listen to by feedspot. Number 23 actually.  If you have time to go to Itunes and give it a rating that might help.


When I first started writing haiku in earnest I was accused of using false Yugen. which amused me, as I didn’t have a clue what yugen was. So I thought that I had better put that right and so this is what I learnt, in so far as I can grasp the concept without living in Japan and immersing myself fully in its culture.

Yugen is that feeling you get when you perceive that sense of almost being able to touch that profound reality that underlies existence. (4)

or to put it another way yugen has “the power to evoke, rather than the ability to state directly.” “The principle of Yugen shows that real beauty exists when,” “by using only a few words,” you get an idea of “what has not been said or shown, and hence”  “many inner thoughts and feelings.” are awakened. (5)

or if you would like a really succinct definition,Michael Dylan Welsh gives us this one: yugen  is the mystery of the unknown. (6)

I listened to a you tube talk by Alan Watts. He sees yugen as being that feeling of being drawn out into the mysterious, looking out to sea and wondering, looking at the peak of a mountain, knowing there is something there but not knowing what it is, we don’t take the journey but it remains there, a potentiality… (7)

He suggests that if we are using yugen in our work we should leave the idea incomplete, allowing the imagination of our readers to play with it but not to draw an ultimate conclusion.

He quotes Basho:

this is all there is
the path comes to an end
among the parsley

I have to say that I feel a little bit cheated by this example. Although I see where he is coming from in line 2 and 3, I think the first line contradicts the idea of yugen, what do you think?

While I was reading up on the topic I came across this haiku from Melissa Allen, which I particulary enjoyed

afternoon sun
in the shop window
I see not-me  (8)

Lastly from me. Inspired by waking up to the latest snowfall I give you this

fresh snowfall
its paw prints disappear
behind the shed

My special guest haijin today are Giddy Nielsen Sweep and Ramlaut Dinpuia from Australia and India respectively.

Giddy Nielsen Sweep

first one awake
on Christmas morning
the rooster

thanks Giddy

Ramlawt Dinpuia

waiting for Santa
the blind girl stares
at the setting sun

Thank you Ramlawt.

And thank you to everyone who has sent submissions to me and been featured this year. I have enjoyed reading everything you have sent to me.

Thank you too to everyone who has been listening and who might not yet have plucked up enough courage to send their work. Please do, this is a safe place to share and I look forward to hearing from you.

Lastly, thank you for coming along and listening this year. I very much appreciate it.

Season 2 of The Haiku Pea podcast continues in the new year. The episode on January 17th will be a special on childhood. If you would like to submit Haiku or Senryu on that topic, you have until January 14th, details on the poetrypea.com website.


  1. Jalmurra
  2. Kusamakura Haiku Competition
  3. Feedspot
  4. Haiku by David Andersen
  5. Urban dictionary
  6. Graceguts
  7. Alan Watts
  8. Melissa Allen – Red Dragonfly
Week 52: Yugen

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