Sunday, March 18, 2012

Basho Revisited, cats in love

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
The next haiku by Basho is an example of how masterly he uses renga techniques for his poems. If you read a complete stop at the line ending with 'stop' and begin a new sentence with 'in' the two lines make perfect sense. However, when you read the second line as a complete unit (as it is written) it sounds as if the cats are in his bedroom. This kind of ambiguity and and 'leading the reader in the false direction' adds depth and meanings to the shortness of haiku.

neko no koi   yamu toki neya no   oboro zuki

cats in love
when they stop in my bedroom
a hazy moon

In the past years I wrote a few haiku about cats in Dutch so I had to translate them for this episode.

full moon
the tomcat washes its head
female cats hunt

over the fence
she creeps, cat in heat,
looking for love

Cats ... in classical times they stood for human affairs on love in a humorous way. Cats were a theme for senryu.

Cat on a fence

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