A poem by Basho, from his first travel journal, Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton:
potato-washing women:were Saigyo here,he'd compose a waka
|12th Century poet and hermit, Saigyo, travelled extensively through Japan and wrote nature lyrics|
The Journeys of Basho - Poetic Pilgrimages
"The remains of Saigyo's thatched hut are off to the right side of the inner temple, reached by continuing a few hundred paces on a woodcutter's path. The hut faces a steep valley with a stunning view. The "clear trickling water" is unchanged from old times, and still, even now, the drops drip down.dew drips dripswanting to rinse awaythis dust of the world"
trickling downpure spring water fallsover mossy rocksnot enough to draw upfor this hermit's life"
Conversing With Basho
A familiar old pondSuddenly a frog jumps inThe sound of wetness
old pond-something has PLOP!jumped inold pond-Basho jumps inthe sound of waterif there were a pondI'd jump infor Basho to hear!
"When you carry their words out into your world, the “old poets” have the chance to share their experiences with you in the context of your own life. Writing your haiku response, you join your experiences with theirs, walking and talking in the company of a sympathetic and understanding friend."
Watching this old pondOnly see clouds reflected;The sound of raindrops
A Well Balanced Diet!
Perchance I heard a rumour of a wreckWhich one day a friend exploring foundSo I intrigued set upon a trekTo find this relic of the Barren Ground
"He constantly strove to remain in an emotional and intellectual position where the poems would come to him. This meant immersing himself in the study of other writers ... Basho reportedly said that any day he did not read the old masters of the waka form, thistles formed in his mouth"
Saigyo - A Poet's Poet
|Contemplating Mt Fuji. This could be Saigyo - or Basho!|
Poems by Saigyo
Saigyo is renowned in Japan for his great devotion to cherry blossoms and according to some writers."When one hears the name Saigyo, cherry blossoms come to mind.Indeed, Saigyo composed an unusual number of poemsabout these spring flowers during the course of his life."
yoshino-yamakozo no shiori nomichi kaetemada minukata nohana o tazunenwhen last year I made my wayinto Yoshino—I abandon now to visitblossoms I have not yet seen
Mizu no oto wasabishiki io notomo nare yamine no arahshi notaema taema ni
|Mt Yoshino - spectacularly beautiful!|
The sound of the wateris my companionin this lonely hutin lulls betweenthe storms on the peak
Hana chiradetsuki wa kumoranyo narisebamono o omowanwaga mi naramashi
Were the world withoutfalling blossomsor the clouded moon,I could no longer livein sad longing.
nagamu totehana ni mo itakunarenurebachiru wakere kosokanashikarikere
Gazing at them, immersed,I become so intimatewith the blossoms;and with the falling awayand scattering comes sorrow.
Negawaku wahana no shita niteharu shinansono kisaragi nomochidzuki no koroLet me die in springunder the blossoming trees,let it be aroundthat full moonof Kisaragi month
The time of full moon of Kisaragi month (February) meant the anniversary of the death of Buddha, ‘February 15th in the lunar calendar’. ‘February 15th’ was March 30th (2010), March 11th (2009), and March 22nd (2008) in a new calendar. Sometimes it would be the beginning of March or April. Thus it isn’t so easy to see cherry trees in full bloom on ‘February 15th‘. He wished to die around the same time as the Buddha’s anniversary under the petals fluttering down. Did he get his desire? He passed away on ‘February 16th‘ (just perfect!) in1190.
Even Poetic Geniuses Learn From Others
The Joy of Haiku - Reading Aloud
kokoro koko ninaki ka nakanu kahototogisu
|Rakusan Tsuchiya (Japanese, 1896-1976), Cuckoo and Bracken (Early Summer), 1930|
was I paying no attentionor did it not yet sing?the cuckoo
horohoro toyamabuki chiru kataki no otoyellow mountain roses,are you falling in rhythm?the sound of the waterfall
The onomatopoeic "horohoto" is the sound of falling petals, but when rendered aloud it seems to match the sound of a waterfall.
|Horohoto - melodiously dropping petals|
Poems from our hearts, and our mouths
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