Thursday, January 19, 2012

Basho Revisited, star-lovers

Several sources are saying that Basho was a homosexual. In his lifetime homosexuality was commonly in the artistic and literature world and, even now, homosexuality is accepted as a normal way of living in Japan.
In Basho's (almost) thousand haiku there are several haiku which are written with a touch of homosexuality. In this part of Basho Revisited I will give a few examples of haiku by Basho with a touch of homosexuality in it.

sazo na hoshi   hiji kimono ni wa   shika no kawa

surely star-lovers
using as a rug
a deer skin

This one, written in Summer 1681, shows us how Basho and his lover are laying down on a deer skin watching to the stars at the Tanabata festival. It's a haiku about love and situated at the time that, the so known 'star-lovers' Altair and Vega are meeting eachother to make love.

Another one:

yoru hisokani   mushi wa gekka no   kuri wo ugatsu

a night secret
a worm under the moon
bores in a chestnut

In this haiku, Autumn 1681, it's very clear what the deeper, hidden, secret meaning is. The white meat of a chestnut indicates, a young virgin boy. The worm ... is Basho himself making love with the young virgin boy. A night secret ... I think that's as clear as the whole haiku. Basho was in love with a young virgin boy or had a boy prostitute under his roof.

A last one:

yamaji ki te   nani yara yukashi   sumire gusa

coming down a mountain road
I've found something lovely
a wild violet

Basho talks here about a young guy which he has met after one of his travels. He compares this young guy with a wild violet.
Ofcourse these are just a few of Basho's haiku in which Basho's love for man and especially young guys is clearly used as a theme.

I will not write a new haiku myself in this part of Basho Revisited. So I will give another haiku by Basho in which his homosexuality is clear, but hidden in wonderful words.

wakaba shite   om me no shizuku   nuguwa baya

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

At second thought I will try to compose a new haiku by myself in the same tone as Basho’s.

such a sad feeling
this day I will be alone
white Chrysanthemum

Until the next part,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. beautiful stuff The greatest hokku writer was a gay zen monk, japans greatest poet, and im only now hearing abt it? Who did the translations?