Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
I owe you all a new episode of our bi-weekly special "Little Creatures". So here it is ... I hadn't time to create and publish it last Thursday, so my apologies ...
As you all maybe can remember this special feature is meant to "learn" you all to watch at the little things of nature. Issa for example was a haiku -poet who looked very close to his surroundings and he honored all the little creatures, such as flies and bedbugs. Haiky is sometimes called the poetry of the Micro-World and I think that's very true ... as haiku poets we look closely to all creatures around us including the little creatures and today I have a wonderful haiku written by Buson (1716-1784), one of the big-five haiku poets, about "mud-snails". I will first give you the haiku and than I will try to tell something more about that haiku.
hiroinokosu tanishi ni tsuki no yûbe kana
a few remain uncaught
under the evening moon
© Yosa Buson
And here is one by Matsuo Basho which he wrote at the age of 39:
farmers-turned-fishermen pick up mud snails
ever so busy
© Matsuo Basho (at the age of 39)
|Tanishi (or mud-snail)
In actual fact, these snails do not, of course, make any sound at all. Some other creatures' squeaking or crying is still mistaken, by ordinary Japanese, for the sound of the tanishi. This, however, in no way affects the value, the poetry of the verse, which is not in the region of science any more than of humanitarianism.
I found a few other haiku about mud-snails the first one is by Jûjô and the second haiku is by Gomei. I just love to share them here also.
nuritate no aze wo yurideru tanishi kana
in the newly-made rice-field bank,
joggles its way out
nisanjaku hôte tanishi no higurekeri
crawls two or three feet, -
and the day is over
Gorgeous haiku written about mud-snails, a nice little creature, and they (the above mentioned haiku-poets) had an eye for them. They saw the little creatures, the mud-snails, as part of their surroundings.
slowly, but slowly
the mud-snail finds its way
after the heavy rains
|Snails in the moonlight (Couldn't retrieve the owner)
Ah ... I love those little creatures and I think this haiku is very nicely built .... Here is another one, a cascading haiku-series which I wrote last year for Haiku Horizons.
watching a snail
just a silver trail
points me to the right place
finally becoming one
I bow to my master
Matsuo Basho told me the way
to watch a snail
!! More on Tanishi !!