Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Through circumstances I have decided to publish two episodes in a roll today, so here is our second episode, which by the way was scheduled for today. It's about a haiku writing technique which explains why classical (and modern) haiku poets sometimes refer to known things literary. It's a kind of haiku in which the poet uses his knowledge of for example, classical poems or mythology.
As we know Basho had studied a lot of Chinese and Japanese literature and poems and that knowledge he exposes sometimes in his haiku. In this haiku he uses his knowledge of his own time.
pining for flowers
or a tune from Gichiku
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
In this haiku Basho uses the so called "honki-dori" or "literary references" technique. It's one of the ways writers had of elevating their status by linking their verses to another famous person (or place).
In the above haiku Basho refers to Gichiku.
Gichiku, known as Tozaburo, was a popular flute player in Basho's time whose hit song had the title of "Yoshino", the mountain most famous for its cherry trees and deep snows. The idea was that when the flowers bloomed there would be parties, flute playing would be at its best.
This beautiful Japanese Bamboo flute music titled "Sakura" (a traditional Japanese folk-song) inspired me to the following haiku.
bamboo leaves rustle
cherry blossoms from far away
in the backyard
Maybe you know that I have an old Sakura in the backyard who is almost in full bloom right now. To me that's a famous spot in my life, so I thought ... maybe I can write a tribute to my Sakura.
And here is one from my archives (with slight revision) about the willow which was once sung by Saigyo, as we have read in Basho's "narrow road into the deep north" last December.
the willow at the crystal stream
sung by Saigyo