Thursday, October 25, 2012

Basho Revisited, young leaves

Also published and shared on: Carpe Diem

In the Spring of 1688, when he was 43, Basho was still interested in youngsters. He himself became older and felt that his youth was over. In his haiku we can read the strong longing for his youth, but no one can turn back to his or her youth. Of course when an elderly man or woman becomes demented they go back to their childhood. Everyone knows that.
Basho also knew that, but his longing to go back to his youth was still strong.
As an adult I to think back to my childhood. I have had a wonderful youth, but ... to go back ... I don't think so.
As a haiku poet one can go back to that feeling of youth. It's easy, because I write a haiku of Spring and I am back in my youth. Spring is, in my opinion, synonymous with youth. Nature comes alive, trees began flowering again and than ... all those wonderful blooming cherry trees and plum trees giving me a sense of youth. I enjoy Spring as the season where in I can go back, by feeling of course, to my youth.
Basho also did this. He has written a lot of Spring haiku, the next ... also is a Spring haiku.

wakaba shite    om me no shizuku    nuguwa baya

young leaves
I would like to wipe away
tears in your eyes

Credits: Young leaves with dew

In this one 'the longing for youth' is essential. In the first two sentences it's clearly that he was longing for his youth. He thinks of the good times of his youth and got tears in his eyes.
On the other hand ... this haiku implicates his love for youngsters, especially boys (as we already know, Basho was homosexual). He sees the young boys, who are sad and have tears in their eyes. He would like to comfort them and wipe their tears away with his love and make them laugh again.
It's so touchy to see this haiku and picture it in front of your eyes. I think this is an emotional scene which he composed in this haiku. It's a sin I think, to write another haiku by myself in the same sense as Basho's, but I will give it a try.

such sadness
to see tears on young leaves
the bright sunlight

Well ... I did it ...:)

In this particular haiku tears are synonym with dew drops as you can see on the picture above.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Basho Revisited, bidding farewell

Carpe Diem's Special #4
Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today another Carpe Diem Special prompt on a haiku by Basho. Today's haiku by Basho is:

chi ni taore   me ni yori hana no   wakare kana

falling to the ground
a flower closer to the root
bidding farewell

With this haiku came (as was common in Basho's time) a preface or title. For this haiku the title was: 'Mourning over the death of priest Tando'.

Basho and Tando were close friends and he (Basho) was very sad, as you can read in this haiku, very sad when he heard that Tando had passed away. He weeps, while falling on his knees. Maybe with his hands before his face I think so. Tando had teached him some fundamental rules of Zen Buddhism, so Basho flourished after these teachings. He became the flower, but now his friend and teacher had died, the flower felt to the ground closer to the root. He wept for his friend in farewell and wrote this haiku.

As I introduced this new Special prompt on Carpe Diem I wrote already a new haiku inspired by this one. That haiku was the following:

last farewell
a last leaf swirls to the ground
compost for new life

A nice haiku I think, but not a strong one. So I will try to write another haiku inspired on the one by Basho.

shedding tears
my dearest friend and teacher
has gone to heaven

Hm ... also not a strong one, but I think this one is closer to the one written by Basho. I read the same sadness ... I can feel the same feeling as Basho had ... I think this one is in Basho's Spirit.

This was a new Basho Revisited, shared with Carpe Diem a daily haiku meme. It's open for everyone who loves to write haiku (classical or non-classical) ... come and visit, see for yourself and maybe you're inspired to write a haiku ... enjoy the fun ... and share your haiku with Carpe Diem.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, white poppy

This episode I will look closer to another not so wellknown haiku written by 'my master' Matsuo Basho. This haiku he wrote in the Summer of 1683. In that time he used the Kanshicho-style He called it 'in the spirit of the Chinese verse', in that style he didn't used the strict syllables-count of the classical haiku, 5-7-5. He wrote in this style 'till 1685. He even did re-write Kanshicho-styled haiku into the classical way in the years after.
First I will give the Romanji text and there after the English translation.

White poppies

shira geshi ya   shigure no hana no   saki tsu ran

white poppy
it must have bloomed
from a wintry shower

As you can see ... this haiku is in Kanshicho-style. Let's take a closer look at the Romanji text and count the characters (syllables).

shi-ra ge-shi ya (5 syllables or characters)
shi-gu-re no ha-na no (7 syllables or characters)
sa-ki tsu ran (4 syllables or characters)

And now let us look at the English translation. Is that also in Kanshicho?

white poppy (2 syllables)
it must have bloomed (5 syllables)
from a wintry shower (5 syllables)

ps. I have used a syllables-counter on the www 

The English haiku is also in Kanshicho. Kanshicho is just another way of writing haiku.  In our Western world we use our own way of translating the Japanese haiku and that's not always following the classical syllables-count. So maybe we can say that all Western haiku are in Kanshicho?
Well maybe, but as you and I know, in the Western world we have a lot of classical written haiku, sometimes convulsively counted to serve the rules of the classical syllables-count 5-7-5. I am not a fan of that classical style, counted verse, but I do like to write them sometimes. To me the classical way of writing haiku is very difficult. Maybe that's because English isn't my mother tongue.
By the way. The haiku written by Basho, the one in this episode, was published in a three-volume collection of haikai by Ochi Etsujin in 1717.

As you may know, my dear visitors, I write in every episode of Basho Revisited a haiku inspired on the one by Basho and that I try to write that new one in the Spirit of Basho's haiku. I would love to share here a classical counted haiku, but ... well I didn't succeeded in that task. So I have composed a new haiku in Kanshicho-style with a touch of Basho's Spirit in it.

poppies at sunrise

at sunrise
poppies still redder
sacrifice for God

Awesome! Gorgeous haiku in Kanshicho-style. Hope you enjoyed the read and of course the whole episode.

'Till next time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Basho Revisited, fragile twigs

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
Published and shared on:Carpe Diem, a daily haiku meme

Carpe Diem Special Badge

Also published and shared on:

Poets United's The Poetry Pantry

A new episode in Basho Revisited. It's a long time ago that I wrote an episode but now ... it's time again. Since the beginning of October 2012 I have a new weblog Carpe Diem, seize the day, a daily haiku meme. Here I give an every day theme or prompt and once in a week the theme is 'Carpe Diem, special' in which I share a haiku written by one of the haiku masters. For this first Carpe Diem month I have chosen for haiku written by Basho. So let's take a look to this week's Carpe Diem 'special'.

The given haiku Basho wrote when he was 33 years old, a mature man, and he had contributed it, together with 19 other verses,to a colossal poetry contest arranged by Fûko (a rich daimyo patron). The contest was entered by over 60 poets. Kigin and Saiganji Ninko were the referee-judges.
After the contest father and son Ninko created an Anthology of the results called Roppya kuban Haikai Hokku awase (The Hokku contest in Six Hundred Rounds). It was shown that of the twenty verses Basho entered nine were published, placing him as one of the best of the participants and that made him an established master.

That's for the background ... now back to the given haiku for this week's Carpe Diem 'special'. First I will give the Japanese verse in Romanji followed by the English translation.

eda moroshi   hi toshi yaburu    aki no kaze

fragile twigs
breaking off the scarlet papers
autumn winds

'Toshi' refers to a very fragile paper made in China. The idea of the poem was that even a fragile twig could tear the paper or the twigs were too fragile to hold on to the Autumn leaves.

Autumn Colors (Yamanaka Spring)
I can picture this scene in front of my eyes. A stormy Autumn day, the fragile twigs, elastic as they are, ruining the scarlet papers or the soft skin of the tree, but can't stand to hold up their leaves. Fragile as the twigs are they finally break taking with them in their fall the fragile paper or skin of the tree.
To write a haiku inspired on the one by Basho, in his Spirit so to say, isn't easy, but I have to try it of course ...

autumn winds -
colorful leaves struggling
their end is near

I think this one is a wonderful one (how immodest). It's for sure in the Spirit of Chèvrefeuille, but is it also in the Spirit of Basho? I don't know ..., but I think ... yes it is.

To be continued ... when I don't know ... (smiles)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Basho Revisited, bridge of morning

Also published and shared on: poets united's poetry pantry


Another haiku about moon-viewing. Also a great one, but not so well known. As we know, the moon is a season word for autumn. So this one is an autumn verse written in 1689.

asamutsu ya   tsukimi no tabi no   ake banare

bridge of morning
a journey of moon-viewing
at dawn

With this haiku came a preface: "When we crossed the bridge of Asamutsu, which is popularly known as 'Asazu', I recall a passage in 'The Pillow Book of Sei Shanagan (a female poet) who wrote: "The most interesting bridges are the bridge of Asamutsu, (and of Nagara and of Amabiko)". This is the very bridge.
According to Jane Reichhold the third sentence 'ake banare' in a longer translation would be to say 'to leave the darkness of night into the light of morning'. The bridge of Asamutsu is about 8 km soutj of Fukui, in Asuwa.

Personally I love the longer translation of the third sentence, but it's really to long 'at dawn' says the same.
A closer look pictures the moon in the early morning hidden behind thin clouds making her mysterious. At the same time as the moon-viewing in the early morning the sun rises to his place at the autumn sky.

Well ... here I go ... a new haiku, as promised in the first part of these series:

in the thin line
of night's leave into the day
sun and moon together

in the thin line
leaving the night into the day
sun and moon dancing

A tough one to write another haiku in Basho's Spirit. I don't know if this one has that Spirit, but I love the scene.

Sincerely,poets united's poetry pantry

Friday, August 31, 2012

Basho Revisited, best for seeing the moon

Also shared with Rebecca's Haiku My Heart

The next haiku was written in Autumn 1689. As the title of this episode tells us the haiku is a real autumn verse. As you know the moon is a seasonword for autumn. In Japan they find the moon of autumn the most beautiful and there are lots of haiku written with the autumn moon. The moon was (and is still) a seasonword for autumn. In my country, The Netherlands, poets find the moon of winter the most beautiful. Maybe that's true, but as a haiku poet I find the moon of autumn the most beautiful and spectacular. Why? I can't say why it's a feeling. Maybe it's because of my interest in the classical haiku, maybe it's because the Japanese haiku poets have written such beautiful haiku about the autumn moon.
This haiku was part of a 15 link renga written at the house of Tosai, who lived in Fukui. The renga was recorded by Miyazaki, a disciple of Basho in Ogaki. He didn't recorded it well because one verse is missing. Maybe he has recorded it right and was it a 14 link renga. By the way Miyazaki recorded it in Basho O Tsuki Ichiya Jogo Ku.
Well ... this is the haiku.

meigetsu no   midokoro towa n   tabine se n

let's visit the places
best for seeing the moon
sleeping on a journey

Credits: autumn full moon

Which places are the best for moon viewing? The shore, the mountains, a Temple or what ever?
I look at the moon from my backyard, because I love the sight of the moon rising up above the surrounding houses. It's leaving me in awe as the moon rises just around a chimney. Or as a mysterious circle behind thin clouds. I love the moon of every season, but ... it's true in autumn the moon is the most beautiful.

in front of my house
I am looking at the full moon
behind the chimney

in the front yard
looking at a mysterious circle
the full moon

I loved to do this episode and I am proud of my two new haiku. It's a real Chevrefeuille with a touch of Basho.

Until next time. Happy moon-viewing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday, back to basic

As every week I write my own haiku post for Tackle It Tuesday. So I will do that also for this week's theme back to basic. The classical form isn't really my cup of tea, but ... well I can't stay behind if I ask my visitors and my haiku friends to write a haiku in the classical form.

So let's do this:

I'm paralyzed
as bitten by a Black Mamba -
awesome sunset

The Black Mamba is one of the most poisonous snakes on Mother Earth's surface. One bit of his teeth will paralyze you in seconds of time and can be your death.
In our country we have what we call 'Adder' and I think in English you call it a Viper and the 'Ratelslang' or Ratle snake who are poisonous, but not as poisonous as the Black Mamba.

This haiku is a classical one, but the season isn't well caught in this one, maybe Summer, maybe Spring as I would say according to the awesome sunset.
Again the deeper meaning is laying in nature and the care we have to take for Mother Earth. As we have to watch out for the Black Mamba, we can see also the awesome sunset. The danger and the beauty of Mother Earth.

Well ... see you next week when the theme for Tackle It Tuesday shall be Aleph.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday, "paint the picture"

Also shared on: Haiku My Heart

For this week's Tackle It Tuesday I have given my dear haijin friends a inspirational picture. Of course I need to write my own haiku for this "paint the picture".
So here is mine and it's written in the Spirit of Basho, although he wasn't familiar with the cascading haiku-form, I have used that form.

Monastery Thessaloniki Greece
 in the garden
of the monastery
silent for God

silent for God
monks in deep meditation
between roses

between roses
the sound of a fountain
in the garden

Well ... do you like this cascading one? Please ... send me your feed-back on this one.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday, Exposure

There are several statues of Matsuo Basho, so you can say he's "exposed" around the world. This weeks prompt for Tackle It Tuesday is "exposure".

near Matsushima (*)
the Master exposed to the weather
Basho's statue

Basho's statue
covered with fresh fallen snow

(*) Matsushima is one of the places which Basho visited when he was on his road to the High North.

See you next week

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Carry On Tuesday, "the long and winding road"

Carry On Tuesday, the long and winding road

Carry On Tuesday, well here is my entry for this week:

walking along
the long and winding road
to the High North

This haiku is inspired on the haibun "The Narrow Road to the High North" as written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). A haibun is a travelogue in which prose and haiku are intwined.
Basho has written several haibun, but his "Narrow Road" is (in my opinion) his best one.

I hope you enjoyed reading this entry.

Warm greetings,


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday, Magnolia

I have to share this with you all my haiku friends. It just came up in my mind and I had to write it down. This weeks prompt is Magnolia. A wonderful tree when it blooms, I always feel sad when the blossoms of the Magnolia fall.

tears in my eyes
my Magnolia is losing her flowers
making me sad

making me sad
every year again
blossoms fall

blossoms fall
after a glorious time
tears in my eyes

Credits: Magnolia tree

I hope this cascading haiku is in the spirit of Basho, my role model and my spiritual master.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Basho Revisited, hidden blossoms

Also published for: Haiku My Heart

As you could have read already Basho was a traveling haiku poet. He made several journeys during his lifetime. Especially in the last ten years of his life.
The following haiku he wrote in summer 1693 they have both the same preface. It could be of course that Basho wrote the first one and re-wrote it later to the second one, but that isn't for sure.

kobi bito no   kokoro ni mo niyo   shii no hana

the traveling heart
should be like
hidden blossoms

shii no hana no   kokoro ni mo niyo   kiso no tabi

hidden flowers
the heart resembles
a trip to Kiso

The preface of these two was:
'As Kyoriku leaves for Hikone by the Kiso Route".
The name of the tree (Shii) is the castanopsis cupsidata which bears inconspicuous flowers. Well ... let me go with the flow and look a bit closer to these haiku. Both are about traveling, both speak about 'hidden flowers'. The line 'hidden flowers' is about the inconspicuous flowers of the Shii, but can easily be seen as a line that points to hidden meanings, or secrets. It even can mean that 'hidden flowers' points to Kyoriku as a friend or his boyfriend. Both haiku can secretly point to his love for man. Basho feels sad as Kyoriku leaves him behind to travel alone to Kiso. But that's ... just a thought, another interpretation of the haiku.

Can I write a new haiku inspired on the haiku by Basho? We will see ....

in a tiny corner
of the mansion's backyard
blooming ice flowers

Credits: Ice flowers

In the same sense and tone maybe another haiku which I wrote several years ago.

a lonely flower
my companion
for one night

'till next time

Basho Revisited, in the daytime a lock

In summer 1693 Basho decided to lock himself up. He would like to think over is his life and closed the gate to his home. You can see this as a retreat. He needed to seek closure for his life as a haiku master.
The following haiku he wrote, when he took this decision.

asagao ya   hiru wa jo orosu   mon mo kaki

morning glories
in the daytime a lock
upon the gate

With this haiku came a preface "Remarks on Closing the Gate', ... if anyone comes, I have to make unnecessary talk. If I go out to visit anyone, I feel bad for disturbing his living. I should be content without any friends. I should feel wealthy in spite of my poverty. A fifty-year-old man writes this for himself as precept for his edification'.
During the months of July and August, Basho closed his gate to visitors. Because the morning glory flower closes up during the day.

Looking to this I had the idea myself to go on a retreat, but that's not my way of living. I love people around me and I, for sure, will not close my gate for visitors. I am the opposite of Basho. I embrace the people around me. I can't live without them. Of course ... I take sometimes a few days for myself, but that's more to come to myself, to get new energy and inspiration.

Chevrefeuille's haiku-blog

a few days
to become myself
and be inspired

the Honeysuckle
in front of my house
guards the gate

A few new haiku inspired on the one by Basho. Are these in his Spirit? I don't know but these haiku wearing my signature that's for sure.

Basho Revisited continues 'till episode 75, so a little more than ten episodes will follow.

See you later ... as I will revisit Basho again.

Basho Revisited, the moon of Seta

I am close to the wiccan and live with the lunar calendar. It is amazing to see that sometimes we have twice a full moon in one month. In the Wiccan tradition we call that Blue Moon this will occur this year in August. In August we have a Blue Moon (on August 31). Blue Moon is for Wiccans worth a celebration and it will be a great celebration.
Basho wrote a haiku on this event of the Blue Moon. It occurred in the Autumn of 1692 as we may belief (according to Jane Reichold) but I did some research on this and came to the conclusion that in Basho's lifetime a Blue Moon had occurred twenty times. According to the year in which the following haiku was written, the Blue Moon, wasn't in Autumn but on April 30th (or in March, as we follow the lunar calendar).
In 1689 a Blue Moon occurred on August 30th and as we know, according to the lunar calendar, this has to be July and that's in the midst of summer. I think Basho was impressed of the Blue Moon and wrote this haiku later. Until now, in my lifetime (1963 - now) a Blue Moon occurred 20 times.
OK back to Basho Revisited.

meigetsu wa   futatsu sugi te mo   seta no tsuki

the full moon
even coming twice in a month
the moon of Seta

A nice one, not so well known, but it shows that Basho was one with nature.
As you have read above I did some research on Blue Moon and while I was doing that I ran into some other names for the moon and in particular the full moon. Names as harvest Moon, Black Moon, Wet - and dry Moon. The last two brought me some insight in the Hawaiian mythology and astrology. So I had to write a haiku on those.

Water Bearer (constellation)

The next haiku is based on the Hawaiian mythology and astrology. The Hawaiians thought that when the moon was in its first quarter in January and February that the moon was a bowl in which the Gods gathered rain water for spring. In that period of the year the Hawaiians can see what they call the Water Bearer (a constellation) the name of the moon in that same period is Kulua.

dripping wet moon
the Water Bearer spills
water from the bowl

Isn't it a nice haiku? It's another one in the Spirit of Chèvrefeuille, but is it in the Spirit of Basho?

'till next time.


Basho Revisited, why have you changed

Basho had a few real friends and a lot of disciples. He wasn't an easy man to deal with, but always righteous.
The following haiku is an example of Basho written as consideration for one of his friends.

aoku te mo   aru beki mono wo   togarashi

though green
why have you changed
red pepper

This verse was the starting link for a 36-link renga Basho wrote with Ranzan and Taisu. It was the result of the visit of Shado, a physician from Omi, who stayed with Basho at his new home from September to the following January. Basho was concerned about his impatient and ambitious personality. Later, his feelings proved valid as it was Shado who caused friction among the disciples due to his lack of consideration for others. This hurt Basho very much. In the end, Shado abandoned Basho and refused to attend his funeral.
Why? Basho was a haiku poet with great love and consideration with nature and humanity. He was into Zen Buddhism and therefor someone who had completely efface Self. To write a new haiku in the same sense as the one by Basho will be tough. I am almost the same as Basho, not a Zen Buddhist, but I am considered with all and everything around me. Maybe this is the result of being a male oncology nurse. My love is unconditional and I see in every human a part of God as God is part of everyone and everything.

heat of summer
the roses in my backyard
have decomposed

A sad day. After the heat wave my roses died unless the daily watering. Is this a haiku in the same way as that by Basho? I think so.

Basho Revisited, cats in love

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
The next haiku by Basho is an example of how masterly he uses renga techniques for his poems. If you read a complete stop at the line ending with 'stop' and begin a new sentence with 'in' the two lines make perfect sense. However, when you read the second line as a complete unit (as it is written) it sounds as if the cats are in his bedroom. This kind of ambiguity and and 'leading the reader in the false direction' adds depth and meanings to the shortness of haiku.

neko no koi   yamu toki neya no   oboro zuki

cats in love
when they stop in my bedroom
a hazy moon

In the past years I wrote a few haiku about cats in Dutch so I had to translate them for this episode.

full moon
the tomcat washes its head
female cats hunt

over the fence
she creeps, cat in heat,
looking for love

Cats ... in classical times they stood for human affairs on love in a humorous way. Cats were a theme for senryu.

Cat on a fence

Friday, March 2, 2012

Basho Revisited, lost from its nest

Also published for:

Basho often used the technique of giving himself an animal or bird's name to describe his own situation instead of using a personal pronoun or referring to himself as author of the verse. Feeling old, and perhaps somewhat ill, and always traveling from place to place, it is easy to see how Basho may have been describing himself as well as making a comment about a natural phenomenon.

It wasn't common to mention the haiku poet in his own haiku. It was just not done as the poet mentioned himself in his haiku, but as Basho did in the following haiku, he took the 'form' of a plover crying because he has lost his nest. Basho, also somewhere called 'the traveling poet', had no own house or something like that. He didn't need that because he was always on a journey.

yami no yo ya   su wo madowashi   naku chidori

darkness of night
lost from its nest
a plover cries

This is a not so well known haiku by Basho, but it's one of the better ones I think. One can visualize the painting. It's dark. A plover cries because it can not find its nest. Maybe the plover in this haiku was a young one.
Basho was lost and had no home of his own. So he was very sad and feels lost in the darkness of the night. Also a possible reason for the 'color' of this haiku can be that Basho was ill and lays in his bed without help or friends around him. He wrote this haiku in Spring 1692, two years before he died.

Can I write a haiku in the same sense and tone as Basho's one?

the cry of a bird
resonates through the night
has it lost his nest?

Not bad I think. It's in the same sense and tone as the one by master Basho.

See you next time,

Basho Revisited, to the last flowers

The following haiku Basho wrote in Winter 1691. He was in the 'winter of his life' and felt his life ends coming. Three years later he died and left the world his legacy almost thousand haiku.

kogarashi no   nioi ya tsuke shi   kaeri bana

withering wind
the fragrance attached
to the last flowers

What does this haiku with me? It's one of his better ones. The beauty lays in the second and third line. It's there where he paints the moment were haiku is well known for. Just that 'one eye-blink'.
The fragrance, the most light perfume, the memory of the perfume, the fragrance of flowers in full bloom. What a beautiful thought a touch of the most sweet flowers in the withering wind of winter.
Yes ... this is truly a haiku as it is meant to be.

wind of winter
touches the last flowers
Ah! that perfume

For sure a haiku in Chèvrefeuille's Spirit, the light touch of Basho makes it a 'masterpiece'. Awesome!

Basho Revisited, between the cedars

koharashi ni   wa fuki togaru   sugima kana

a withering blast
sharpening the rocks
between the cedars

Basho has written this verse when he visited the Horaiji Temple, with 1423 stone steps, located about 15 km northeast of Shinshiro (where he stayed). Mount Horaiji (684 m) is covered with Japanese cedars with very painted rocks near the top. This verse uses the 'pseudo-science' device. It seems the wind is sharp enough to sharpen the rocks - yet wind does wear down rock, though very slowly.

Nature is very strong and wind and water can sharpen rocks. We have to take care for our wonderful nature, our planet Earth. As a haiku poet nature is part of my life. I love our nature and cherish it. Without flowers, trees, animals and the weather I couldn't write haiku. Without haiku I have 'no life', because I live haiku, I breath haiku.

a jack stone
sharpened by the brook
a masterpiece of art

In this one I think you can feel the power of nature and Basho's Spirit.
Write haiku with pleasure. Live haiku as Basho did. I ... breath haiku ... it's my life

'Till next time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, a wild boar

Earlier in this series I mentioned that Basho was gay. In a lot of his haiku being gay was the theme. In his lifetime it was commonly known that in the world of arts homosexuality was normal and accepted. In this episode I will, for the last time, talk about haiku by Basho in which his being gay is the theme.

inashishi no   toko ni mo iru ya   kirigirisu

a wild boar
does it get in bed with
a cricket?

kiko no kaya   nara wa iku yo no   otoko buri

scent of chrysanthemum
Nara a long time ago
a handsome man

This one was included in a letter to his disciple Sampuu. Is he talking about Sampuu or about a man he had met in Nara?

sono nioi   momo yori shirashi   suisen kana

their color
whiter than peaches
a narcissus

This was the greeting verse given to Hakusetsu, the village headman of Shinshiro at a renga party for 12 poets. He had two sons, 14 and 11 years old, which Basho gave, in his manner, his name of when he was young (green peach) which was a sign he was highly attracted to them. The Japanese peach has a nearly pure white flesh. (Source: Jane Reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).

han jitsu was   kami wo tomo ni ya   toshi wasure

for half a day
my friend turns into a god
end-of-the-year party

This was the "hokku" of a renga held at the home of Ogurusu Yugen, the Chief Priest of the temple located in the northwestern part of Kyoto.
The title of this haiku (a commonly custom) was 'A Year-End Renga Party".

yuno nagori   kayoi wa hada no   samukara n

tonight my skin
will miss the hot spring
it seems colder

This one Basho gave to Toyo, the son of the inn-keeper of Yamanaka Hot Springs, to whom he was greatly attracted, upon his farewell.

Yamanaka Hot Springs

maegami mo   mada wakakusa no   nioi kana

the boy's bangs
still has the smell
of young grass

The preface of this verse: "Hokaku asked for my writing on a folding fan".
Well ... this one encloses this episode in which I stood still by Basho's preference for man.

ultimate love
flowers and bumblebees
ripe cherries

Until next time.

This wasn't an easy one to write.

Basho Revisited, a river breeze

Also published for: The Gooseberry Garden Poetry Picnic

And for: Poets United The Poetry Pantry

In some of Basho's haiku he refers to himself as part of the scene or looks to the scene from a distance. Not very common for haiku poets. It isn't done to be part of your own haiku as haiku poet, but rules are there to be once read and than to forget them immediately.
In the following haiku he does both. He is part of the scene, but is also watching it from a distance. I think it's a great way to write haiku (unless it wasn't common).
This "not being part of your own haiku" is still in our times one of the rules. Rules? Basho once said: "Know the rules of writing haiku and forget them immediately". Well ... that's my way to write haiku. So I 'forgot' the rules of the classical haiku and embraced the rules of the Kanshicho style in which Basho wrote his haiku between 1683 and 1685. In that style the syllable count is different and less important. But as Basho said: "Forget the rules immediately". Well I can say "forgetting the rules feels good and makes my mind free". With that thought I have written all my haiku in this series of Basho Revisited.

kawa kaze ya   usu gaki ki taru   yu suzumi

a river breeze
the one wearing a light persimmon robe
enjoying the coolness

Basho wrote a preface to this haiku. (Source: Jane reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).
"Enjoying the cool breeze on the bank of Shijo, an observance is practiced from the beginning to the middle of June. A special floor is set up right on the river, and people enjoy drinking and eating all night. Women tie their sashes correctly tight, and men wear their formal long coats. I see even the apprentices of a cooper and the blacksmith. They seem to have too much leisure time, singing and making noise. This is probably a scene which can only be seen in the capital (Edo, now called Tokyo).

observing the crowd
having fun on the seashore
almost naked

I love the full beaches in summer. Everyone has fun enjoying the warm summer and the coolness of the sea.
Children laugh making sandcastles, grown ups reading, playing, drinking, eating and laughing. Summer is a wonderful season and I think ... everyone enjoys it.

Until next time, sincerely,

Have a great summer! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Basho Revisited, missing it

Also published for: Haiku my Heart

Sometimes I read a haiku of Basho that I find beautiful in its image and simpleness. So like Basho. Just a haiku about, for example, viewing a lake
The next one is such a haiku.

yuku haru wo   omi no hito to   oshimi keru

departing spring
along with the people of Omi
missing it

Omi is situated on the southeastern shore of lake Biwa. It's known for his old castle Omi Hachiman and goes back to the 16th century. Omi is very known as a center of commerce thanks to its location near Kyoto on the east-west transportation route, and its strategic position as a center of water transport on Lake Biwa. Merchants from the area were known as Omi shonin and some of them became very famous for their success.

Credits: Lake Biwa
Lake Biwa was well known of his beauty and the wonderful nature around it.
Basho stands viewing this lake accompanied by the people of Omi at the beginning of summer or at the end of spring. He's so in awe that he misses the feeling which belongs to the departure of spring.
A haiku with the feeling of sadness, but also with happiness. In my opinion a well balanced haiku on the thin line between spring and summer.

at the seashore
wind of summer through my hair
the shortest night

Awesome! Isn't it a beauty (how immodest) this one on the thin line between spring and summer. It's a wonder. In my opinion a haiku in Basho's Spirit (and one of my masterpieces).


Basho Revisited, wings of a butterfly

I love butterflies, they're so fragile and I find them very beautiful. However I didn't write a lot of haiku about butterflies. I don't know why, but it could be a lack of inspiration.
In this series I have used a haiku by Basho in the episode orchid fragrance which he wrote for a woman named Butterfly when he was asked for.

ran no ka ya   cho no tusubasa ni   takimono su

orchid fragrance
from the butterfly's wings
scenting the clothes

In that episode I didn't gave a new haiku, but an old one that I once wrote for a friend. So I will write a new haiku right now inspired by the above one.

in the Buddleia
fluttering of fragile wings
waving on the wind

Another one:

waving on the wind
butterflies resting in the sun
on the Buddleia

Credits: Butterfly on the Buddleia
Back to this episode. In this episode I will look at a few haiku by Basho  in which he used butterfly as season word. (A season word is particular for one of the seasons, butterfly is a season word for summer).

cho no ha no   ikutabi koyuru   hei no yane

wings of a butterfly
how many times do they flutter
over roof and wall

kimi ya cho   ware ya Soji ga   yume gokoro

you are butterfly?
I am Chuang-tzu's
dreaming heart

Chuang-tzu is a well known classical author of China and Basho wrote this one for one of his friends named Dosui who was an enthusiastic reader of Chuang-tzu's work. According to Jane Reichhold however this one is an unconfirmed haiku by Basho.

Another butterfly haiku:

cho mo ki te   su wo suu kiku no   namasu kana

a butterfly also comes
to sip the vinegar from mums (*)
and pickles

(*) mums is short for Chrysanthemums

Credits: Butterfly on Chrysanthemum

With this one came a preface: 'While I was staying in Awazu, a man who liked tea ceremony very much, invited me and served vinegar boiled chrysanthemum flowers picked from a nearby beach'. He wrote this one for his host, a physician.

okiyo okiyo   waga tomo ni se n   nuru ko cho

wake up wake up
I want you for a friend
sleeping butterfly

This one is discussed by several authorities and they came to the conclusion that this one must be seen in relationship to the famous story of Chuang-tzu who dreamed he was a butterfly and then wondered which was real, his dream or his life as a human. (Source: Jane Reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).
Others say that this haiku refers to one of Basho's (male) lovers. The truth will stay in the middle I think.

A last example of haiku on butterflies by Basho:

cho no tobu   bakari nonaka no   hikage kana

a butterfly flies
only in the field
of sunshine

What an awesome picture. A tiny butterfly dances in the wide field in the light of the sun.

Because I love the butterfly haiku by Basho. I will give another example. This is an impromptu verse.

monozuki ya   niowa nu kasa ni   tomaru cho

how curious
on grass without fragrance
perches a butterfly

Well ... I rest my case :-) All wonderful haiku by Basho about butterflies. To write myself a new one in the Spirit of Basho will not be easy, but ... I have to do what I have to do.

the cobweb scattered
by the fluttering of wings
a blue butterfly

on the verandah
a yellowish butterfly
the light of sun down

Butterflies ... I love those tiny creatures, so fragile and yet so strong. I bow my head and thank the Gods for the butterflies.

Sincerely, 'till next time.

Also published for: Haiku my Heart

Thanks for passing by :-)