Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, a river breeze

Also published for: The Gooseberry Garden Poetry Picnic

And for: Poets United The Poetry Pantry

In some of Basho's haiku he refers to himself as part of the scene or looks to the scene from a distance. Not very common for haiku poets. It isn't done to be part of your own haiku as haiku poet, but rules are there to be once read and than to forget them immediately.
In the following haiku he does both. He is part of the scene, but is also watching it from a distance. I think it's a great way to write haiku (unless it wasn't common).
This "not being part of your own haiku" is still in our times one of the rules. Rules? Basho once said: "Know the rules of writing haiku and forget them immediately". Well ... that's my way to write haiku. So I 'forgot' the rules of the classical haiku and embraced the rules of the Kanshicho style in which Basho wrote his haiku between 1683 and 1685. In that style the syllable count is different and less important. But as Basho said: "Forget the rules immediately". Well I can say "forgetting the rules feels good and makes my mind free". With that thought I have written all my haiku in this series of Basho Revisited.

kawa kaze ya   usu gaki ki taru   yu suzumi

a river breeze
the one wearing a light persimmon robe
enjoying the coolness

Basho wrote a preface to this haiku. (Source: Jane reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).
"Enjoying the cool breeze on the bank of Shijo, an observance is practiced from the beginning to the middle of June. A special floor is set up right on the river, and people enjoy drinking and eating all night. Women tie their sashes correctly tight, and men wear their formal long coats. I see even the apprentices of a cooper and the blacksmith. They seem to have too much leisure time, singing and making noise. This is probably a scene which can only be seen in the capital (Edo, now called Tokyo).

observing the crowd
having fun on the seashore
almost naked

I love the full beaches in summer. Everyone has fun enjoying the warm summer and the coolness of the sea.
Children laugh making sandcastles, grown ups reading, playing, drinking, eating and laughing. Summer is a wonderful season and I think ... everyone enjoys it.

Until next time, sincerely,

Have a great summer! :)


  1. Thank you both for the nice comments. I hope that you enjoyed reading this episode of Basho Revisited.

  2. Hello Booguloo & Taylor, I am glad that you liked this episode of Basho Revisited. Thank you both for your kind words.

  3. I truly enjoy this blog. Thank you for the fine work.