Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wandering Spirit - siikingu mai pasu (seeking my path)

After the death of Hoshina I traveled to Yokohama to visit Sayuri, the wife of Hoshina, to tell her the sad news that her husband, my lover, had died. She was sad and cried, but she was glad to know that I had taken care of him for such a long time.
“Thank you Yozakura”, she said. “Thank you for taking care of him. You have given a big part of your life to do that. So now … it is time for you to find your purpose in life. Go find your path”. I bowed. “Thank you Sayuri. Thank you that you have given me the opportunity to care for Hoshina. I will never forget that”. I embraced her and parted.
I became a wandering spirit again, but now it was just for my own cause … I had to find my path, as Sayuri called it. But what was my path? To find an answer on that question I decided to make a journey to the city of Kobe to become a monk of the Taisan Ji Temple. There I hoped to find my path. During this journey I clothed myself as a monk, because that was the only safe way to travel and it gave me the opportunity to find places to sleep without paying or only low prices. 
スィーキング・マイ・パス クローズド・ライク・ア・マンク・フォー・セイフティー ワイト・ローズ・イン・マイ・ヘア
siikingu mai pasu kuroozudo raiku a manku foo seifutii waito roozu in mai hea

seeking my path
clothed like a monk for safety
white rose in my hair

© Yozakura

This was one of my first haikai-like poems I wrote during this journey to Kobe. Along the way I spoke often with other travelers and it was one of them who told me about a new poet who became more famous every day.
Lodging House "Masayuki"
One day I spoke another lone traveler, Yasuhiro, in a lodging house. He had traveled a few days and planned to stay for a few days in this lodging house, Masayuki, somewhere between Edo and Kobe.
“I was told about a famous poet”, I said to him. “Have you heard of him? His name is Tosei”. He looked at me and shook his head. “Never heard of a poet Tosei, but maybe someone else here in the lodging house knows him”.
The inn-keeper, Yori, brought us some rice and onions and sake. “I overheard what you asked your travel companion”, he said. “Did you ask him if he knew a poet Tosei?” I nodded. “Yes, during my journey I heard several times people talk about him. He must be a great poet, because there are so many people who know him. Do you know him?” The inn-keeper smiled. “Yes, just recently I read an anthology of poems, haikai, titled “Kai Oi”, the Sea Shell Game”, he answered. “This Tosei is a rising star in the world of poetry, but he is very young. He is 28 and he once was a servant of Tōdō Yoshitada, the son of a samourai”. “I was raised and educated by a samourai”, I said. “Maybe you know him”. The inn-keeper looked at me. “His name was Hoshina Masayuki”. The inn-keeper shook his head. “Never heard of him”. I was a bit disappointed as he said that, because his lodging house had the same name as my lover, but I let go of it. “Must be a coincidence”, I thought.

I stayed a few days in this lodging house and finally I found the peace to write haikai-like poems to clear my head. My head really full of all what I had experienced in the last years. I had to bear all the sadness alone and sometimes there were days that it made me depressed and that I thought to commit suicide. Happily I could resist those thoughts, because I love life and I want to take everything out of my life. At the lodging house I decided to visit this young poet who’s star was rising and maybe he would accept me as his apprentice, but then I had to write a few haikai-like poems to show him.
It wasn’t easy to create these haikai-like poems, but my hidden emotions and my background as a Shinto priest helped me to do it.
roonrii furauaa noo wan kan sii mai teazu batto za gaddozu
lonely flower
no one can see my tears
but the gods

fiiringu aroon roosuto in za wuddozu araundo iidoo - jasuto za attamu waindo

feeling alone
lost in the woods around Edo -
just the autumn wind

bea buranchazu a peintingu aggensuto za buruu sukai riivuzu andaa mai fiito
bare branches
a painting against the blue sky
leaves under my feet

atto doon ai woshu mai fiito wizu duu za roongasuto dei
at dawn
I wash my feet with dew
the longest day

roosuto in za wuddozu natto inafu raito tuu faindo za pasu - za kurai avu an auru
lost in the woods
not enough light to find the path -
the cry of an owl

© Yozakura

“Yozakura, these are beautiful”, the inn-keeper said with a smile on his face. “You have the talent my friend”. I blushed as he praised my work. “These are just my first attempts to write haikai-like poems”, I said. “I have tried to write down my feelings and the emotions hidden in me. My dad died in the Great Fire of Meireki  and my lover just recently died after a long bed of sickness”. Tears rolled over my cheeks and I couldn’t stop them anymore. Then I became unconscious. Several days later I found myself on a sleeping mat in the house of the inn-keeper. He and his friend had taken care of me after I passed out.
“Ah good to see you awake my friend”, the inn-keeper’s friend, Yamato, said to me. “You have been “out” for several days. A local doctor has examined you and he has diagnosed you with a pneumonia and exhaustion”.
I looked at him. “I was “out” for several days?”
“Yes, to be precise almost 7 days. You had high fevers. There was even a moment that we were afraid that you would die”. I was in shock as I heard what had happen. I couldn’t believe that I had been sick that bad.
“Thank you for taking care of me Yamato”, I said with tears in my eyes. “How can I ever repay you what you and your friend have done for me?” Yamato smiled and shook his head.
“No need to repay us Yozakura. Just remember us when you are a famous poet and then please visit us again”. With a big smile he helped me on my feet, embraced me and gave me a kiss on my forehead. “Friends forever Yozakura, friends forever. Yori will say that too I know that for sure”.
“Well … good to see you on your feet Yozakura. How are you? How are you feeling today?” Yori, who entered the room, asked me with a bright smile on his face.
“I am feeling great only still tired, but that will become better I think. Thank you for taking care of me Yori”.
“It’s ok Yozakura. Yamato and I have done it out of unconditional love for all and everything. So no thanks we loved doing it”, Yori said.
Shakuhachi player

Later that day, I sat together with Yori and Yamato at the table. Yori had made us a delicious stew and we drank a lot of sake. During our dinner a local musician played on his Shakuhachi. It was a nice peaceful evening and I felt at home. Through a hole in the paper window I saw the full moon. “A perfect day”, I thought.

a bamubuu furuuto kuaresusesu za muunritto naito - furajaru saundo
a bamboo flute
caresses the moonlit night -
fragile sound

As we went to bed the horizon started to color already. A new day was rising. I slept until midday and after a nice meal I decided to leave. On my way again to find the purpose of my life.

To be continued …


  1. Beautiful haiku, totally original story idea and very readable. À story that infolds do well.

    1. This story will evolve over time, it's a process of growth.