Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
|Cover Chrysanthemum Love by Fay Aoyagi
Fay Aoyagi said in the introduction to her 2003 collection Chrysanthemum Love: If you believe haiku must be about nature, you may be disappointed with my work. There is a lot of "me" in my haiku. I write very subjectively. I am not interested in Zen and the Oriental flavours to which some Western haiku/tanka poets are attracted. I love the shortness and evocativeness of haiku. I don't write haiku to report the weather. I write to tell my stories.
Fay was born in Tokyo and migrated to the United States in 1982. She has been writing haiku in English since 1995. She joined Ten'I (Providence), a Japanese haiku group led by Dr Akito Arima in 2000, and is a member of the Haiku Society of America, Haiku Poets of Northern California and Haijin Kyokai (Haiku Poets Association in Japan). Fay is a dojin of both Ten'I and Aki (Autumn), a Japanese haiku group started by Yatsuka Ishihara (deceased) and now led by Masami Sanuka.
I hope you all will like this article. And I love to thank Fay Aoyagi for granting me permission to use her article for our Carpe Diem "Just Read" feature.
Sujyu Takano (1893-1976) is referring to a belief in ancient time that just before moonrise, three gods would come to show people a way to the Land of Paradise. The seventeenth-day moon which rises about 7pm is called 'tachimachizuki' (the moon you wait for by standing). I can see my ancestor waiting for the moonrise near his gate after an evening stroll. On the eighteenth day, the moon rises about 30 minutes later than the previous day. Without electricity, the streets must have been dark by then. People waited in their living rooms or on their verandahs for the moon to rise. A kigo for the eighteenth day moon is 'imachizuki' (the moon you wait for by sitting). The next day the moon does not rise before 8pm. In their bedrolls, people waited for the nineteenth day moon called 'nemachizuki' (the moon you wait for by lying down).
During the Edo Period (1603-1867), a day was divided into 12 segments and each segment had the name of an animal. Those animals were the same 12 zodiac signs you see in a Chinese calendar. I have to admit that I do not know a kigo like 'inakazuki' in English. A character for 'i' (pronounced as 'i' in 'inside') means 'boar' and 'naka' means 'between'. In the modern world, the Hour of Boar is between 9pm and 11pm. I translated 'inakazuki' (the moon rises between 9pm and 11pm) to 'twentieth-night moon' in the haiku below.
|Credits: Kaguyahime, a story of the Moon Princess
My interpretation may be influenced with a legend of Kaguyahime, a story of the Moon Princess. A beautiful baby was found and raised by an elderly couple. Eventually, though, she returned to the moon on the fifteenth night (full moon) of lunar August when she declined to choose a husband.
|Credits: Lunar Eclipse
In this haiku, moonlight still shines between the poet's fingers and may shimmer on the river surface. But soon the Earth will move between the sun and the moon. Most of the time, we are under the influence of the sun or the moon. Can we be the absolute master of our life for the duration of the lunar eclipse?
itoshimeba ki mo katarikuru haru no tsuki
3: Tsushima Yasuko Shu (collection of work by Yasuko Tsushima), Yu Shorin, Tokyo, 2003.
I hope you did like this article "Moon in the Haiku Tradition" and that it has given you new insights. Normally I don't ask you to write a haiku in response on the "Just Read" post, but this time I love to challenge you to write a "moon-haiku" following the Haiku Tradition as in above article was written.
You can submit your "moon-haiku" until November 7th at noon. I am looking forward to all your wonderful "moon-haiku" and I love to share an oldie by myself here too.
ancient warriors ghosts
mists over the foreign highlands -
waiting for the full moon