Monday, May 8, 2017

Basho Revisited a new beginning.

Dear friends,

Several years ago I started this weblog on haiku poet Matsuo Basho, my haiku master, and tried to create haiku inspired on haiku written by him. I love to revive this weblog so I will soon start publishing again.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Basho Revisited, young leaves

Also published and shared on: Carpe Diem

In the Spring of 1688, when he was 43, Basho was still interested in youngsters. He himself became older and felt that his youth was over. In his haiku we can read the strong longing for his youth, but no one can turn back to his or her youth. Of course when an elderly man or woman becomes demented they go back to their childhood. Everyone knows that.
Basho also knew that, but his longing to go back to his youth was still strong.
As an adult I to think back to my childhood. I have had a wonderful youth, but ... to go back ... I don't think so.
As a haiku poet one can go back to that feeling of youth. It's easy, because I write a haiku of Spring and I am back in my youth. Spring is, in my opinion, synonymous with youth. Nature comes alive, trees began flowering again and than ... all those wonderful blooming cherry trees and plum trees giving me a sense of youth. I enjoy Spring as the season where in I can go back, by feeling of course, to my youth.
Basho also did this. He has written a lot of Spring haiku, the next ... also is a Spring haiku.

wakaba shite    om me no shizuku    nuguwa baya

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

Credits: Young leaves with dew

In this one 'the longing for youth' is essential. In the first two sentences it's clearly that he was longing for his youth. He thinks of the good times of his youth and got tears in his eyes.
On the other hand ... this haiku implicates his love for youngsters, especially boys (as we already know, Basho was homosexual). He sees the young boys, who are sad and have tears in their eyes. He would like to comfort them and wipe their tears away with his love and make them laugh again.
It's so touchy to see this haiku and picture it in front of your eyes. I think this is an emotional scene which he composed in this haiku. It's a sin I think, to write another haiku by myself in the same sense as Basho's, but I will give it a try.

such sadness
to see tears on young leaves
the bright sunlight

Well ... I did it ...:)

In this particular haiku tears are synonym with dew drops as you can see on the picture above.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Basho Revisited, bidding farewell

Carpe Diem's Special #4
Dear haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today another Carpe Diem Special prompt on a haiku by Basho. Today's haiku by Basho is:

chi ni taore   me ni yori hana no   wakare kana

falling to the ground
a flower closer to the root
bidding farewell

With this haiku came (as was common in Basho's time) a preface or title. For this haiku the title was: 'Mourning over the death of priest Tando'.

Basho and Tando were close friends and he (Basho) was very sad, as you can read in this haiku, very sad when he heard that Tando had passed away. He weeps, while falling on his knees. Maybe with his hands before his face I think so. Tando had teached him some fundamental rules of Zen Buddhism, so Basho flourished after these teachings. He became the flower, but now his friend and teacher had died, the flower felt to the ground closer to the root. He wept for his friend in farewell and wrote this haiku.

As I introduced this new Special prompt on Carpe Diem I wrote already a new haiku inspired by this one. That haiku was the following:

last farewell
a last leaf swirls to the ground
compost for new life

A nice haiku I think, but not a strong one. So I will try to write another haiku inspired on the one by Basho.

shedding tears
my dearest friend and teacher
has gone to heaven

Hm ... also not a strong one, but I think this one is closer to the one written by Basho. I read the same sadness ... I can feel the same feeling as Basho had ... I think this one is in Basho's Spirit.

This was a new Basho Revisited, shared with Carpe Diem a daily haiku meme. It's open for everyone who loves to write haiku (classical or non-classical) ... come and visit, see for yourself and maybe you're inspired to write a haiku ... enjoy the fun ... and share your haiku with Carpe Diem.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Basho Revisited, white poppy

This episode I will look closer to another not so wellknown haiku written by 'my master' Matsuo Basho. This haiku he wrote in the Summer of 1683. In that time he used the Kanshicho-style He called it 'in the spirit of the Chinese verse', in that style he didn't used the strict syllables-count of the classical haiku, 5-7-5. He wrote in this style 'till 1685. He even did re-write Kanshicho-styled haiku into the classical way in the years after.
First I will give the Romanji text and there after the English translation.

White poppies

shira geshi ya   shigure no hana no   saki tsu ran

white poppy
it must have bloomed
from a wintry shower

As you can see ... this haiku is in Kanshicho-style. Let's take a closer look at the Romanji text and count the characters (syllables).

shi-ra ge-shi ya (5 syllables or characters)
shi-gu-re no ha-na no (7 syllables or characters)
sa-ki tsu ran (4 syllables or characters)

And now let us look at the English translation. Is that also in Kanshicho?

white poppy (2 syllables)
it must have bloomed (5 syllables)
from a wintry shower (5 syllables)

ps. I have used a syllables-counter on the www 

The English haiku is also in Kanshicho. Kanshicho is just another way of writing haiku.  In our Western world we use our own way of translating the Japanese haiku and that's not always following the classical syllables-count. So maybe we can say that all Western haiku are in Kanshicho?
Well maybe, but as you and I know, in the Western world we have a lot of classical written haiku, sometimes convulsively counted to serve the rules of the classical syllables-count 5-7-5. I am not a fan of that classical style, counted verse, but I do like to write them sometimes. To me the classical way of writing haiku is very difficult. Maybe that's because English isn't my mother tongue.
By the way. The haiku written by Basho, the one in this episode, was published in a three-volume collection of haikai by Ochi Etsujin in 1717.

As you may know, my dear visitors, I write in every episode of Basho Revisited a haiku inspired on the one by Basho and that I try to write that new one in the Spirit of Basho's haiku. I would love to share here a classical counted haiku, but ... well I didn't succeeded in that task. So I have composed a new haiku in Kanshicho-style with a touch of Basho's Spirit in it.

poppies at sunrise

at sunrise
poppies still redder
sacrifice for God

Awesome! Gorgeous haiku in Kanshicho-style. Hope you enjoyed the read and of course the whole episode.

'Till next time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Basho Revisited, fragile twigs

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
Published and shared on:Carpe Diem, a daily haiku meme

Carpe Diem Special Badge

Also published and shared on:

Poets United's The Poetry Pantry

A new episode in Basho Revisited. It's a long time ago that I wrote an episode but now ... it's time again. Since the beginning of October 2012 I have a new weblog Carpe Diem, seize the day, a daily haiku meme. Here I give an every day theme or prompt and once in a week the theme is 'Carpe Diem, special' in which I share a haiku written by one of the haiku masters. For this first Carpe Diem month I have chosen for haiku written by Basho. So let's take a look to this week's Carpe Diem 'special'.

The given haiku Basho wrote when he was 33 years old, a mature man, and he had contributed it, together with 19 other verses,to a colossal poetry contest arranged by Fûko (a rich daimyo patron). The contest was entered by over 60 poets. Kigin and Saiganji Ninko were the referee-judges.
After the contest father and son Ninko created an Anthology of the results called Roppya kuban Haikai Hokku awase (The Hokku contest in Six Hundred Rounds). It was shown that of the twenty verses Basho entered nine were published, placing him as one of the best of the participants and that made him an established master.

That's for the background ... now back to the given haiku for this week's Carpe Diem 'special'. First I will give the Japanese verse in Romanji followed by the English translation.

eda moroshi   hi toshi yaburu    aki no kaze

fragile twigs
breaking off the scarlet papers
autumn winds

'Toshi' refers to a very fragile paper made in China. The idea of the poem was that even a fragile twig could tear the paper or the twigs were too fragile to hold on to the Autumn leaves.

Autumn Colors (Yamanaka Spring)
I can picture this scene in front of my eyes. A stormy Autumn day, the fragile twigs, elastic as they are, ruining the scarlet papers or the soft skin of the tree, but can't stand to hold up their leaves. Fragile as the twigs are they finally break taking with them in their fall the fragile paper or skin of the tree.
To write a haiku inspired on the one by Basho, in his Spirit so to say, isn't easy, but I have to try it of course ...

autumn winds -
colorful leaves struggling
their end is near

I think this one is a wonderful one (how immodest). It's for sure in the Spirit of Chèvrefeuille, but is it also in the Spirit of Basho? I don't know ..., but I think ... yes it is.

To be continued ... when I don't know ... (smiles)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Basho Revisited, bridge of morning

Also published and shared on: poets united's poetry pantry


Another haiku about moon-viewing. Also a great one, but not so well known. As we know, the moon is a season word for autumn. So this one is an autumn verse written in 1689.

asamutsu ya   tsukimi no tabi no   ake banare

bridge of morning
a journey of moon-viewing
at dawn

With this haiku came a preface: "When we crossed the bridge of Asamutsu, which is popularly known as 'Asazu', I recall a passage in 'The Pillow Book of Sei Shanagan (a female poet) who wrote: "The most interesting bridges are the bridge of Asamutsu, (and of Nagara and of Amabiko)". This is the very bridge.
According to Jane Reichhold the third sentence 'ake banare' in a longer translation would be to say 'to leave the darkness of night into the light of morning'. The bridge of Asamutsu is about 8 km soutj of Fukui, in Asuwa.

Personally I love the longer translation of the third sentence, but it's really to long 'at dawn' says the same.
A closer look pictures the moon in the early morning hidden behind thin clouds making her mysterious. At the same time as the moon-viewing in the early morning the sun rises to his place at the autumn sky.

Well ... here I go ... a new haiku, as promised in the first part of these series:

in the thin line
of night's leave into the day
sun and moon together

in the thin line
leaving the night into the day
sun and moon dancing

A tough one to write another haiku in Basho's Spirit. I don't know if this one has that Spirit, but I love the scene.

Sincerely,poets united's poetry pantry

Friday, August 31, 2012

Basho Revisited, best for seeing the moon

Also shared with Rebecca's Haiku My Heart

The next haiku was written in Autumn 1689. As the title of this episode tells us the haiku is a real autumn verse. As you know the moon is a seasonword for autumn. In Japan they find the moon of autumn the most beautiful and there are lots of haiku written with the autumn moon. The moon was (and is still) a seasonword for autumn. In my country, The Netherlands, poets find the moon of winter the most beautiful. Maybe that's true, but as a haiku poet I find the moon of autumn the most beautiful and spectacular. Why? I can't say why it's a feeling. Maybe it's because of my interest in the classical haiku, maybe it's because the Japanese haiku poets have written such beautiful haiku about the autumn moon.
This haiku was part of a 15 link renga written at the house of Tosai, who lived in Fukui. The renga was recorded by Miyazaki, a disciple of Basho in Ogaki. He didn't recorded it well because one verse is missing. Maybe he has recorded it right and was it a 14 link renga. By the way Miyazaki recorded it in Basho O Tsuki Ichiya Jogo Ku.
Well ... this is the haiku.

meigetsu no   midokoro towa n   tabine se n

let's visit the places
best for seeing the moon
sleeping on a journey

Credits: autumn full moon

Which places are the best for moon viewing? The shore, the mountains, a Temple or what ever?
I look at the moon from my backyard, because I love the sight of the moon rising up above the surrounding houses. It's leaving me in awe as the moon rises just around a chimney. Or as a mysterious circle behind thin clouds. I love the moon of every season, but ... it's true in autumn the moon is the most beautiful.

in front of my house
I am looking at the full moon
behind the chimney

in the front yard
looking at a mysterious circle
the full moon

I loved to do this episode and I am proud of my two new haiku. It's a real Chevrefeuille with a touch of Basho.

Until next time. Happy moon-viewing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday, back to basic

As every week I write my own haiku post for Tackle It Tuesday. So I will do that also for this week's theme back to basic. The classical form isn't really my cup of tea, but ... well I can't stay behind if I ask my visitors and my haiku friends to write a haiku in the classical form.

So let's do this:

I'm paralyzed
as bitten by a Black Mamba -
awesome sunset

The Black Mamba is one of the most poisonous snakes on Mother Earth's surface. One bit of his teeth will paralyze you in seconds of time and can be your death.
In our country we have what we call 'Adder' and I think in English you call it a Viper and the 'Ratelslang' or Ratle snake who are poisonous, but not as poisonous as the Black Mamba.

This haiku is a classical one, but the season isn't well caught in this one, maybe Summer, maybe Spring as I would say according to the awesome sunset.
Again the deeper meaning is laying in nature and the care we have to take for Mother Earth. As we have to watch out for the Black Mamba, we can see also the awesome sunset. The danger and the beauty of Mother Earth.

Well ... see you next week when the theme for Tackle It Tuesday shall be Aleph.