Saturday, January 7, 2012

Basho Revisited, the sound of water

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
You remember for sure Basho's haiku 'Old Pond':

an old pond
a frog jumps in
the sound of water

The following haiku by Basho has the same third sentence but fails to achieve the importance that it does have in the above verse.
Basho wrote the following haiku in the Summer of 1688.

taneshisa ya   aota ni suzuma   mizu no ato

cooling one self in a rice paddy
the sound of water

As we look closer at both verses we can see the picture, but in 'Old Pond' the main figure is the frog and in 'delightfulness' it's a human. Basho uses the same third sentence but, there is a difference in 'the sound of water'. In 'Old Pond' the sound of water is very short. It's just the frog who breaks the water. That sound is the essence of haiku, short as an eye-blinck, just a 'aha-erlebnis'.
In 'delightfulness' the sound of water is made by a human who is cooling his feet in the water of the rice paddy. That 'sound of water' is a longer sound, the sound of splashing. In 'delightfulness' the cool water of the rice paddy is the 'aha-erlebnis'. How refreshing the cool water of the rice paddy on a hot summer day.

In my opinion 'the sound of water' in 'Old Pond' is stronger and important for the picture. In 'delightfulness' 'the sound of water' is less important for the picture. It's the coolness of the water of the rice paddy that's important.
Well it's just a thought, a reverie ....

with my bare feet
in the cool grass of dawn
Ah! what a feeling

Not bad I think. A well balanced haiku written in a sleepless night. Is this in the Spirit of Basho? Yes, I think so ...


1 comment:

  1. The sound of water...a primal response seems to occur to the sound of water...relaxation, comfort..or the opposite in a few...

    I really like your response haiku...the bare feet, grass, coolness, love the haiku.