Friday, February 3, 2012

Basho Revisited, wings of a butterfly

I love butterflies, they're so fragile and I find them very beautiful. However I didn't write a lot of haiku about butterflies. I don't know why, but it could be a lack of inspiration.
In this series I have used a haiku by Basho in the episode orchid fragrance which he wrote for a woman named Butterfly when he was asked for.

ran no ka ya   cho no tusubasa ni   takimono su

orchid fragrance
from the butterfly's wings
scenting the clothes

In that episode I didn't gave a new haiku, but an old one that I once wrote for a friend. So I will write a new haiku right now inspired by the above one.

in the Buddleia
fluttering of fragile wings
waving on the wind

Another one:

waving on the wind
butterflies resting in the sun
on the Buddleia

Credits: Butterfly on the Buddleia
Back to this episode. In this episode I will look at a few haiku by Basho  in which he used butterfly as season word. (A season word is particular for one of the seasons, butterfly is a season word for summer).

cho no ha no   ikutabi koyuru   hei no yane

wings of a butterfly
how many times do they flutter
over roof and wall

kimi ya cho   ware ya Soji ga   yume gokoro

you are butterfly?
I am Chuang-tzu's
dreaming heart

Chuang-tzu is a well known classical author of China and Basho wrote this one for one of his friends named Dosui who was an enthusiastic reader of Chuang-tzu's work. According to Jane Reichhold however this one is an unconfirmed haiku by Basho.

Another butterfly haiku:

cho mo ki te   su wo suu kiku no   namasu kana

a butterfly also comes
to sip the vinegar from mums (*)
and pickles

(*) mums is short for Chrysanthemums

Credits: Butterfly on Chrysanthemum

With this one came a preface: 'While I was staying in Awazu, a man who liked tea ceremony very much, invited me and served vinegar boiled chrysanthemum flowers picked from a nearby beach'. He wrote this one for his host, a physician.

okiyo okiyo   waga tomo ni se n   nuru ko cho

wake up wake up
I want you for a friend
sleeping butterfly

This one is discussed by several authorities and they came to the conclusion that this one must be seen in relationship to the famous story of Chuang-tzu who dreamed he was a butterfly and then wondered which was real, his dream or his life as a human. (Source: Jane Reichhold's Old Pond: Basho's (almost) thousand haiku).
Others say that this haiku refers to one of Basho's (male) lovers. The truth will stay in the middle I think.

A last example of haiku on butterflies by Basho:

cho no tobu   bakari nonaka no   hikage kana

a butterfly flies
only in the field
of sunshine

What an awesome picture. A tiny butterfly dances in the wide field in the light of the sun.

Because I love the butterfly haiku by Basho. I will give another example. This is an impromptu verse.

monozuki ya   niowa nu kasa ni   tomaru cho

how curious
on grass without fragrance
perches a butterfly

Well ... I rest my case :-) All wonderful haiku by Basho about butterflies. To write myself a new one in the Spirit of Basho will not be easy, but ... I have to do what I have to do.

the cobweb scattered
by the fluttering of wings
a blue butterfly

on the verandah
a yellowish butterfly
the light of sun down

Butterflies ... I love those tiny creatures, so fragile and yet so strong. I bow my head and thank the Gods for the butterflies.

Sincerely, 'till next time.

Also published for: Haiku my Heart

Thanks for passing by :-)


  1. Breathtaking picture of the butterfly. I too am very fond of the butterfly, not only for its beauty but also for its symbol of renewed life!!! Thank you! Cathy

  2. Awesome photos ~ wonderful haiku and most informative post ~ Basho haiku quite 'over the top' ~ you do well to compete with Basho ~ I am still learning and reading about haiku ~namaste, carol (A Creative Harbor) Happy HMH

  3. wow, Wow, WOW!
    All of it so beautiful♥♥♥

  4. you are a treasure trove of haiku and butterflies.
    thank you for such tangible grace.

  5. Thanks! You all make me blush ... and proud on who I am, just a humble haiku poet.

  6. I do like how you take your inspiration from the haiku masters and give your own twist to the words. Keep writing!

    Whirling Haiku and Senryu

    1. Thank you so much Magical Mystical Teacher for these nice words. I love the haiku by the classical masters, but Basho is for me the best.
      I can only hope to become as good as Basho. My inspirational haiku on the ones by Basho are just ... humbly written and I hope to write them in the Spirit of Basho.

  7. What a wonderful blog you have here . All of your haiku impresses me so. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

    1. You make me blush Ellecee. I love the haiku by Basho and he is a real inspiration to me. Thank you for visiting.