Sunday, January 1, 2012

Basho Revisited, departure

In part one of Basho Revisited I promoted a haiku of him which he wrote in the last months of his life. Therefor in part two his first known haiku (according to Jane Reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).
Basho was born in a small village now known as Ueno, which is about 30 miles southeast of Kyoto, and 200 miles west of Tokyo. He was born on September 15th, 1644. He was the son of a low ranked Samourai and was given the name Kinsaku.
When he was 21 years old he wrote his first haiku under the name Sobo.

haru ya ko shi    toshi ya yuki ken    kotsugormori

has Spring come
or the year gone away?
end of December

This verse is dated on the 7th February and it referred to the last days of the old year, so it makes sense to translate the last sentence as 'second-last day to the end of December'. (Source: Jane Reichhold )

As I wrote in part one of Basho Revisited I will try to write in every part a new haiku in the same tone and sphere. But this one is tougher than I thought. How to write another haiku in the same sense as Basho's?
I looked at every sentence apart from the verse. Basho writes "Spring" in the first sentence. So the season must be "Spring".
The question in sentence two asks "where has the year gone?" So it's about departing. In the last sentence Basho refers to "December", the last month of the year.

As I look at this haiku as a total picture. I sense the feeling of losing the grip on time and the sadness of departure. With this feeling locked, I have written:

already Spring?
the last days of the year
have gone by

It was not an easy one, but I think I have managed in my challenge "to write in the Spirit of Basho".

'Till next time,


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