the fleeting form
of a cloud
Comment: a haiku with an original juxtaposition and an overall feeling of lightness and impermanence. The raku ware (rakuyaki 楽焼き) in the first ku is generally used during the tea ceremony (cha no yu 茶の湯): since it’s handmade, each bowl is different from the others, just like the clouds that cross the sky in the second part of the poem. The ‘fleeting form’ is therefore linked to the irregular shapes (fukinsei 不均整) of these objects; at the same time, it refers to another genre of Japanese art, that is the ukiyo-e 浮世絵 or ‘pictures of the floating world’. The sense of transiency is also emphasized by the rustling ‘f’ sound in line 2.