Today I love to share a (2nd) haiku by Kobayashi Issa, one of our ''big five'' haiku-poets this month. Issa was a Buddhist and had four kids who all died at a young age, as did his wife. As he married a second wife his life became another ''hell''. His second wife was very dominant and made him feel terrible. Later on in his life he encountered another ''hell'' as his dad died and he couldn't accept his dad's heritage, because of a brother who thought that he had more rights on his dad's heritage.
Issa's life wasn't a smooth flowing life, but he had his haiku writing skills. Issa looked very close to his surroundings and wrote also haiku about flies and other bugs, such as mosquitos. He was even a better observer than Basho, but as are the haiku of Basho, Issa's haiku are beautiful in their simplicity.
|Credits: Kobayashi Issa|
The next haiku is a great example of Issa's simplicity:
tada tanome hana mo hara-hara ani tori
do not also the petals flutter down,
just like that?
© Kobayashi Issa (Tr. by R.H. Blyth)
Towards separate things, Issa is full of Zen, but this poem has a different flavour, for it expresses Issa's attitude towards the universe as a whole, his religion. However much we may say that Zen and the Nenbutsu have the same object, the way of each is radically different, and appeals to different types of mind. Explaining the difference intellectually, we may say that in Shin, we are nothing, in Zen we are everything. The emotional difference is still greater. Issa's poem mentions neither Amida nor Kwannon, it does not compare us with the flowers. But it leaves us with a sense of lachrimae rerum; this is never the case with Zen. In Shin, the evanescence of things is pointed to, as here, to remind us of our powerlessness, to remind us of the compassion of Amida, of the world to come. In Zen, impermanence, like the Emptiness of things, is emphasized as a means of getting us to give up the illusion of an eternal separate, impermeable self, so that we may be filled with all things and act in and through them, and they in us. (Source: R.H. Blyth, Vol. 2 Haiku series of four volumes)
Isn't it a wonderful idea? And a beautiful haiku? This is what and who we are. We are all one with everyone and everything. We are all part of the same universe and that ... is just the simple and plain truth.
|Credits: Apple Blossom|
apple blossoms fall
one by one, each on it's own path -
the crow of a rooster
And now it's up to you. Write a haiku inspired on the post, the haiku by Issa, in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Issa. Just have fun ... be part of the universe, the universe makes us one.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open unitl July 13th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, the second haiku by Shiki, later on.