Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, a wild boar

Earlier in this series I mentioned that Basho was gay. In a lot of his haiku being gay was the theme. In his lifetime it was commonly known that in the world of arts homosexuality was normal and accepted. In this episode I will, for the last time, talk about haiku by Basho in which his being gay is the theme.

inashishi no   toko ni mo iru ya   kirigirisu

a wild boar
does it get in bed with
a cricket?

kiko no kaya   nara wa iku yo no   otoko buri

scent of chrysanthemum
Nara a long time ago
a handsome man

This one was included in a letter to his disciple Sampuu. Is he talking about Sampuu or about a man he had met in Nara?

sono nioi   momo yori shirashi   suisen kana

their color
whiter than peaches
a narcissus

This was the greeting verse given to Hakusetsu, the village headman of Shinshiro at a renga party for 12 poets. He had two sons, 14 and 11 years old, which Basho gave, in his manner, his name of when he was young (green peach) which was a sign he was highly attracted to them. The Japanese peach has a nearly pure white flesh. (Source: Jane Reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).

han jitsu was   kami wo tomo ni ya   toshi wasure

for half a day
my friend turns into a god
end-of-the-year party

This was the "hokku" of a renga held at the home of Ogurusu Yugen, the Chief Priest of the temple located in the northwestern part of Kyoto.
The title of this haiku (a commonly custom) was 'A Year-End Renga Party".

yuno nagori   kayoi wa hada no   samukara n

tonight my skin
will miss the hot spring
it seems colder

This one Basho gave to Toyo, the son of the inn-keeper of Yamanaka Hot Springs, to whom he was greatly attracted, upon his farewell.

Yamanaka Hot Springs

maegami mo   mada wakakusa no   nioi kana

the boy's bangs
still has the smell
of young grass

The preface of this verse: "Hokaku asked for my writing on a folding fan".
Well ... this one encloses this episode in which I stood still by Basho's preference for man.

ultimate love
flowers and bumblebees
ripe cherries

Until next time.

This wasn't an easy one to write.

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