Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Basho Revisited, Saigyo's straw sandals

Basho was a fan of Saigyo's poetry. Saigyo (1118-1190) was a poet who has written 'waka' (now known as tanka). Basho loved and respected him very much. He had studied his poetry several years. He also studied a lot of Chinese poetry. In some of Basho's poems we can see that he had studied the classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, but also had studied a lot of spiritual and religious literature and poetry.
It's a wonder how he put all this knowledge into his haiku. As we can see in our lifetime modern poets and haiku poets also use the knowledge of the classical poetry and literature in their poetry.
I myself used it for example in my haibun 'My Narrow Road', in which I used (as the title already says) Basho's Narrow Road to the Far North. It's not a shame to use your knowledge to write fine poetry or in my case haiku.

Saigyo no    waraji mo kakare   matsu no tsuyu

Saigyo's straw sandals
hanging from the pine tree

This was written on a painting of a pine tree dripping with dew. Basho uses in this one the associative technique. Both dew drops and straw sandals are hanging in the pine. The genius stroke is that Basho could 'see' that his mentor's shoes hung there also.
As we can read in the above text this haiku was written on a painting of a pine tree dripping with dew. This art is called haiga. In haiga a painting, picture or a photo and haiku are melting together. The haiku or the picture are strengthen each other.
In the past years I have painted and photographed many items and themes at which I included haiku. For example: In 2008 I published a haiku anthology titled 'Deep Silence'. The cover of this anthology was a photo by myself. With the photo I included the next haiku in Kanshicho-style:

in between worlds -
the city parc

Back to this episode of Basho Revisited. I have to write a new haiku in the same Spirit as the one by Basho. This will be a tough one I think :)

on the door post
the name of the place
next to mine

Not a strong one I guess, but ... I had to write a new haiku in Basho's Spirit, I think I succeeded. If not ... well it's surely in the Spirit of Chevrefeuille.

Until the next episode,

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