Sunday, January 15, 2012

Basho Revisited, firefly fire

Matsuo Basho

Following Basho's trail along his Narrow Road to the Deep North I came towards a haiku by him which he wouldn't publish in his haibun 'Oku no Hosomichi' (The Narrow Road to the Deep North), but Sora, a haiku poet who after Basho's death in 1694 published the 'Narrow Road' included this haiku. Sora was also the travel companion of Basho on his Narrow Road, but Sora had to go home somewhere on this journey because he became ill.
This haiku isn't very well known. I haven't read read it in the many published books and anthologies about Basho. I ran into this haiku in Jane Reichhold's 'Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku' and loved it very well. Why Basho wouldn't publish this one? I don't know, but I am glad that Sora did include it.

hotaru bi no   hira wa kie tsutsu   hashira kana

firefly fire
disappears at daylight
behind the pillar

Credits: firefly

In my opinion this is a haiku in the same strong tone and sense as his well known 'Old Pond' and it has to become a well known haiku. I hope with this episode of Basho Revisited that this haiku becomes as famous as 'Old Pond'.

at sun down
the fragile light
of a firefly

Not entirely the same tone and sense as the one by Basho, but it looks more like a haiku in the Spirit of Chevrefeuille :)

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