Sunday, January 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, lingering moon

Maybe you know, maybe you don't know, but the Classical Japanese Culture had several great festivals, such as the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' and 'Tanabata', but they also had a big festival on September 9th. That festival was called 'Cho yo no Sekku', this means 'The Chrysanthemum Festival'.

The Chrysanthemum is a seasonword for autumn. I think Chrysanthemums are wonderful season bound flowers in so much different colours and species and they are a wonderful theme for haiku.

izayoi no   izure ka kesa ni   nakoru kiku

lingering moon
which is better this morning
early chrysanthemum

This haiku had a preface (very common): 'At Sodo's house. The chrysanthemums on the tenth. The elderly host of the lotus pond (Basho's host) loves chrysanthemums. Yesterday he held a party for the Chrysanthemum Festival just like that of Long Shan and today he offers the rice wine left over from our Renga party. I wonder who will stay in good health for next year's party!' (Source: Jane Reichhold's Old Pond)

This haiku was part of a Renga which Basho and his host Sodo composed. It's not sure if this was the 'hokku' opening haiku, but it could have been.

Chrysanthemums are beautiful. I personally love white chrysanthemums mixed with red roses. Maybe I will use that in my haiku for this part of Basho Revisited.

in the backyard
gazing at the Milky Way -
white chrysanthemums

I have tried to write this one in more than Basho's Spirit I also have tried to bring a touch of Sodo in it. It surely is a touch of Chèvrefeuille :)


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