Saturday, October 11, 2014

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #9, Basho's "Through the skylark's singing"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's "Sparkling Stars" episode is about a not so well known haiku written by Basho (1644-1694). I hope it will inspire you as it did inspire me.

hibari naku naka no hyoshi ya kiji no koe

through the skylark's singing
comes the beat
of pheasants' cries

© Basho

This natural orchestra reminds us of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, but there is something deeper in it. The Skylark and the Pheasant are

             bound each to each
             in natural piety

and Wordsworth has a line in Resolution and Independence which resemble's Basho's verse:

[...] "Over his own street voice the Stoch-dove broods; the Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; and all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters." [...]

Issa has a similar verse, but the season is autumn, and it is with the sound of human origin that the notes of the bird are blended:

fukuro ga hyoshi toru nari sayo kinuta

the owl beats time
for the fulling-block,
at midnight

© Issa

The same applies to the following verse by Shiki, in which a certain comical element is blended:

semi naku ya gyozui-doki no tofu-uri

a cicada is crying;
while having an open-air bath,
the call of the bean-curd vendor

© Shiki

Again in the following, also by Shiki:

yamadera ya hirune no ibiki hototogisu

a mountain temple;
snores from mid-day naps,
the voice of the cuckoo

© Shiki

Credits: Woodblock print "Skylark" by Shoson (1877-1945)

All wonderful haiku by the classical haiku masters. As I re-read the haiku of Issa and Shiki and compare them with Basho's haiku than you should think "Issa and Shiki" knew the haiku by Basho, but it's not certain that both knew.

As I was preparing this episode I remembered a haiku which I once wrote about a Skylark:

mezzo-soprano sings
a love song by Chopin -
cry of a Skylark

© Chèvrefeuille

And I discovered a marvelous haiku by Yozakura (1640-1716):

tori no uta kyoumeishimasu yama ni hibiku

the song of birds
resonates through the mountains -
crystal brook

© Yozakura

And now it is up to you my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers to write an all new haiku (classical or non-classical) inspired on this post and the wonderful haiku I have shared. Have fun! (For this episode I used several sources e.g R.H.Blyth's 4 volume series about haiku)

This episode is open for your submissions at noon (CET) and will remain open until next Saturday October 18th at noon (CET).

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