Sunday, January 1, 2012

Basho Revisited, how long to wait

It was in Basho's time (17th century) a traditional occupation of poets to wait for the first song of the 'hototogisu' in order to write a verse on the arrival of Summer.
Basho also was such a poet. He always was close to the seasons and nature as in that time every haiku poet did. Haiku is also known as the poetry of nature. Every haiku had a season word to place it in the year. The use of season words is, in my opinion, not so much common in modern times. Because of changing industrial techniques, for example, Tulips are of Spring, but we can buy them already in Winter, so Tulips aren't especially for Spring in modern times.
I myself love to use seasonal words, but it's not necessarily. I love the Classical haiku, but also the modern haiku.
Basho wrote the upcoming haiku in 1666 and it was published in 1667 in the Anthology 'Zoku-Yamanio, compiled by Kashun and his father, Kikamura Kigin.

shibashi ma mo    matsu ya hototogi -   su sen nen

how long
to wait for the cuckoo?
some thousand years

In this haiku the longing for Summer is as clear as crystal. Basho is waiting on the first song of the cuckoo but becomes tired of waiting as the last sentence shows us,'some thousand years' is an eternity, longer much longer than the lifetime of humankind.

In my haiku this 'longing' should be mentioned because I think that's the essential element in this haiku by Basho.

cherry blossoms fall -
it feels like an eternity
before Summer


Also published for:

No comments:

Post a Comment