Sunday, December 6, 2015

Carpe Diem #874 Rainhat Island; since the cherry blossoms

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have read wonderful haiku this first week of our journey with Basho and that makes me proud ... you are all very gifted poets and I am happy that I may be your host here ... the joy of creating CDHK I cannot explain ...

This month we arer on our way together with Basho and his companion Sora to find the deeper meaning of life, spiritual life, and I hope we will come closer to enlightenment while traveling to the deep north.


Passing through the castle towns of Abumizuri and Shiroishi, I arrived at the province of Kasajima (Rainhat Island), where I asked the way to the mound of Lord Sanekata of the Fujiwara family. I was told that I must turn right in the direction of the villages of Minowa and Kasajima visible at the foot of the mountains in the distance, and that the mound was still there by the side of a shrine, buried in deep grass. I wanted to go that way, of course, but the muddy road after the early rain of the wet season and my own weakness stopped me. The names of the two villages were so befitting to the wet season with their echoes of raincoat and umbrella that I wrote:

Rainhat Island—
where did you say it was?
muddy roads in May

© Basho (Tr. Donald Keene)

 I stopped overnight at Iwanuma.

My heart leaped with joy when I saw the celebrated pine tree of Takekuma, its twin trunks shaped exactly as described by the ancient poets. I was immediately reminded of the priest Noin who had grieved to find upon his second visit this same tree cut down and thrown into the River Natori as bridge-piles by the newly-appointed governor of the province. This tree had been planted, cut, and replanted several times in the past, but just when I came to see it myself, it was in its original shape after a lapse of perhaps a thousand years, the most beautiful shape one could possibly think of for a pine tree. The poet Kyohaku wrote as follows at the time of my departure to express his good wishes for my journey:
Credits: Takekuma Pine

the Takekuma Pine:
show it to him,
late-blooming cherries

 © Kyohaku (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)

The following poem I wrote was, therefore, a reply:

since the cherry blossoms,
I was longing to see the Twin-Pine
three months have passed

© Basho (Tr. Chèvrefeuille)


I am in the nightshift and I hadn't taken my notes with me, so in this episode I have used translations by others instead of Jane Reichhold.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 9th at noon (CET). I will publish our next episode, iris leaves; summer grass, later on.

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