can't quite land
on that blade of grass.
Haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adapted from the Japanese: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete and pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words. Because the form has been brought into English from a language written in characters, in which a haiku appears on a single line, many poets writing haiku in English are flexible about the syllable and line counts, focusing more on the brevity, condensed form and “Zen” attitude of haiku. The traditional Japanese haiku requires some reference to nature or the season; thus the related short form of senryu is distinguished from haiku as being concerned with “human nature” or social and personal relationships.
In this particular Haiku, Basho analyzes nature through the imagery of a dragonfly. He delineates a creature that can't find a way to land on a certain blade of grass. It is important to note that it is this specific blade of grass that perplexes the dragonfly, like an obstacle he cannot overcome. The dragonfly "can't quite" accomplish this task, showing that he is continually falling barely short of his goals. Also the use of the dragonfly itself introduces the element of a dignified insect, one that should be able to simply land on a blade of grass, increasing the magnitude of it's failure.
Basho is covering the idea of failure through this Haiku, analyzing the actual actions of failure. He depicts an unexpected failure that is important only because of its contrast with the dragonfly. I was wondering what you guys thought about this Haiku in terms of the relationship Basho draws between nature and failure? Also how does this Haiku analyze human nature in juxtaposition with adversity?