Thursday, June 4, 2015

On The Trail With Basho Encore 3, washing my feet

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As I promised you all last month I love to stay in touch with Basho by bringing you all a new episode of our special feature "On The Trail With Basho Encore". Maybe you remember that in one of the posts in the last days of May I spook about "unconfirmed" haiku by Basho. Today's episode of "Encore" is about another "unconfirmed" haiku.

The following haiku was published by Daichu in a collection of Basho's handwritten poems, but actually this verse is 'unconfirmed' at being Basho's. Let us take a closer look at the verse.

ashi arote   tsui ake yasuki   maro ne kana

washing my feet
I fall asleep for the short night
with my clothes on

© Basho

When I read this the first time I thought 'this is a nice haiku by Basho', but when I read further I was struck by lightning as I read the comment of
Jane Reichhold that this was an 'unconfirmed' haiku by Basho. I was in shock. This couldn't be. I read the haiku again and again and it stays a haiku by Basho, but why than 'unconfirmed'?

Let us take a closer look. Why do I think this is a haiku by Basho? I don't pretend that I am a Basho connoisseur, but (as other haiku poets say) I write my own haiku in the same tone and sense as Basho. So I think I can say that I know how Basho wrote. Am I immodest ... that's up to you my dear visitors.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge (UK)

This haiku has Zen in it, it has humor and it has a season word 'the short night'. Basho was very tired while he crafted this one, he even don't had the strength to wash his feet and put off his clothes. While washing his feet he falls asleep and misses the shortest night of the year, the summer solstice. In that part is the Zen. The shortest night missing because you're too tired, it feels like emptiness and also brings enlightenment.

Time is such a rare thing, time flies. Time doesn't exist is what this haiku says. It's a wonderful haiku. Although mentioned an 'unconfirmed' one by Basho. I think it's 'now confirmed' that this is a haiku by Basho. Daichu was right when he enclosed this haiku in the collection of Basho's handwritten haiku.

And now ... I have to write a haiku by myself in Basho's Spirit.

at dawn
I wash my feet with dew
the longest day

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... it's not completely in the Spirit of Basho, but it's for sure in the Spirit of Chèvrefeuille ... and that is CONFIRMED :)

This episode of "encore" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Thursday June 11th at noon (CET). have fun!


  1. I really like your confirmed haiku Chevrefeuille. I had thought that I wouldn' t find any CDHK prompts I could reply to this month because we are heading into winter down here in the south. Still we do have the solstice of course so I think I will have to change my mind and write something. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. This post made me smile. confirmed indeed.