the story continues
After my first meeting with the master, with Basho, I was excited and proud to have a haiku written by him personally. I cherished that haiku and decided to calligraph it on white silk. As I had done that I bought a small wooden box and put the haiku on silk into it carefully.
Like a treasure
Hidden in the depth of the mountains
Several days later Basho invited me to his home. I was honored that he invited me.
“Yozakura”, he said. “I have a proposal for you”.
I nodded and my heart beat rose to unknown height.
“Your haiku are wonderful Yozakura, but they can become more sophisticated. I can teach you how. Do you want to be one of my students?”
“I would be honored master Basho. Yes, I love to become one of your students”, I answered.
Basho hugged me and gave me a kiss on my forehead.
“That that is settled. Welcome Yozakura. Please stay with me. Let us write a chained verse together. Do you want to write the first verse?”
I looked at him and stammered: “I would be honored, but I am just a beginning haiku poet. I don’t know if my haiku are worth to start a chained verse with”.
“Lesson One, dear Yozakura, every haiku is a real beauty. It has nothing to do with being a beginner or a professional. It has to do with the love of nature. Look at the pine-tree and see the pine-tree as Buddha. Your haiku are extraordinary wonderful Yozakura … don’t forget that!”
I bowed my head. “I will write the first verse master Basho”, I whispered.
|dewdrops shimmer (image found on Pinterest)|
Birds sing their song
“Brilliant”, Basho said. “This is a nice haiku to start with. Now I have to write the second verse, but I need your help with it. In which season your haiku is written?”
I felt a little bit embarrassed as he asked me which season it was written in.
“I don’t really know. ‘Dawn’ can be used in every season as can ‘birds sing their song’, but I don’t know if ‘dewdrops’ can be used in every season. I think ‘dew’ is a kigo for spring or summer. So this haiku is a spring haiku, because all scenes noticed give me a spring feeling’, I answered. Basho smiled.
“Than it is a spring haiku Yozakura. Now to write the second verse. What do you want that this second verse tells us?”
“I would love to see, the beauty of flowers and young life”. Basho applauded.
Cherry blossoms bloom again
Shelter for young sparrows
“That’s what I thought too master”, I laughed. “The beauty of cherry blossoms and the offspring of sparrows. Fragile beauty and the seemingly roughness of sparrows without colors as bright as the cherry blossoms”.
I became excited. I never had done a chained verse in the manner of Basho. “He is really a renga master”, I thought.
“Well … let us go on to the third verse. Read that verse again Yozakura, say it aloud, try to feel what it is painting. Become a part of the scene. Be a spectator that sees this scene”.
I, of course, did what he asked from me. How could I not do that. I was his apprentice so I just did what he asked. I said the second verse aloud … became a part of it. It felt like I was one with the scene. I was the young sparrow in the shelter of the cherry blossom.
“Now … I will make it a little bit more difficult for you my dear Yozakura. It’s your turn to write the next verse, but I love to see a moon theme in it. Do you think you can do that?”
“I think I can, but are you willing to give me some time? This way of writing chained is somewhat new to me”.
“Yes of course you can. Are you still staying at the home of your brother?”
“Than go home and take your time. A chained verse doesn’t see the light in one day”.
Later that day Kichirou and I had dinner and I told him about my first lesson. “Basho asked me to write the first verse of a chained verse. That was a honor and than he asked me for help with creating the second verse. It was really awesome to work with him. He is a very nice and attractive man, but he is also very wise”.
“Sounds like you have had a good time Yozakura”, Kichirou said.
“Yes it was a real nice day. How was your day?”
“My day was good too. I met a wonderful painter. He told me about haiga. That’s a kind of painting in which haiku are used. He gave me this”.
|Willow Tree (woodblock print, by Kawase Hasui, inspired on Saigyo's renown waka)|
Kichirou reached for a roll of rice paper and showed it to me. It was an awesome painting inspired on a waka by Saigyo about a willow tree. The willow tree was really beautifully painted and in the pond its reflection was magnificent. The waka calligraphed in a great way. I felt tears rolling from my cheeks.
“Who has painted this … it is … it is wonderful”, I stammered.
“His name is Takayuki and he is a young man, very talented as you can see. I have asked him to make a haiga inspired on that haiku you got from Basho. He will be visiting us tomorrow. As a former Wakashu I think you will appreciate him”.
I smiled. “Hoshina was the first man I fell in love with. There is no place in my heart for a new love my dear brother”.
After dinner we sat on the verandah enjoying each other’s company. Kichirou was reading a book and I was busy to create a new verse for the chained verse Basho and I started.
“Kichirou?” I asked.
“Yes my brother?”
“This is the chained verse we started today, but I have no idea how to bring the moon into the third verse. Maybe you can help me”.
“Please … read what you have already”, Kichirou answered.
Birds sing their songs
That’s the first verse and this is the verse Basho created inspired on the first.
Cherry blossoms bloom again
Shelter for young sparrows;
And now I have to write the third verse, but in that verse I have to use “moon” as Basho asked me”.
“How do I do that?” Kichirou asked.
“By looking at that second verse and let your heart speak to you through the images you see”.
Kichirou nodded. “Let me hear that second verse again”.
I read it aloud a few times again and than I saw how Kichirou smiled.
“Do you have an idea my brother?”
“What do you think of this idea: fragile beauty makes the night mysterious in the moonlight”.
“Awesome Kichirou, but that last line. I don’t know. In your second line you use mysterious and than you use moonlight. I think that there is no need to use moonlight. What do you think of this line? The moon is female so I thought of this ‘she … is beautiful’. Than it makes the mystery bigger, more intense and I think that’s a nice contrast with fragile in the first line”.
I saw that Kichirou understood what I meant, but he wasn’t quite satisfied.
“Your third line is nice, but than you have used two times ‘beauty’, maybe you can change that third line into ‘she … the one I love’, because you love the moon.
I saw that he weighed his words. "Don't be afraid to say what you think my brother".
"You had a loving relation with Hoshina".
I nodded. "Yes you are right. I loved him very much. I am still missing him. I know they call male to male love "moonlove" ... so I think that third line you proposed is very nice and keeps the mystery.
|Moon (woodblock by Gesso Yoshimoto) (found on Pinterest)|
We were awake early after a good night's sleep. The sun was already above the horizon and the village was already alive. We sat on the porch and ate our breakfast in profound silence. My thoughts were at Basho's lesson of yesterday.
"I am looking forward to my next lesson of master Basho", I said.
Kichirou looked at me. "He must be special".
"Yes he is, my brother. In a way I feel like him. We even have a connection, a click, with each other. It feels like I know him for a long time instead of just a few weeks. I am excited how our renga will evolve ..."
After a warm cup of tea I took off and went to Basho. He embraced me and gave me a kiss on my forehead. "Good to see you again Yozakura. I am looking forward to create our renga together. I think we will do a half kasen-renga. That means only eighteen verses instead of thirty-six. Is that okay?"
"Yes i think so too. I love to create a complete kasen-renga, but it's not easy to create that as a starting poet. So ... yes let us create a half kasen-renga".
I had a wonderful day with master Basho. The sun was already downing as we finally had created our half kasen-renga.
"You did a great job Yozakura", Basho said.
I blushed and bowed my head. "Thank you master Basho", I whispered.
He looked at me and shook his smiling head.
"You really did great Yozakura. You are looking at a very proud master". He embraced me.
"It's time. The day runs towards its end. Go home Yozakura enjoy the renga we created".
He gave me small booklet we had created from our renga. He even had painted a wonderful scene on the cover. "It's my gift to you Yozakura. Do I see you again tomorrow?" I nodded.
|Dew drops shimmer (image found on Pinterest)|
Birds sing their song
Cherry blossom blooms again
Shelter for young sparrows
The pale moon hangs
Still fresh against the sky
Trailing morning glories (© Dolores)
A new day rises on my naked body
The sheet that covered me slipped away
Birds sing their song
Dewdrops shimmer like diamonds
Just an illusion
Her feet caress the fresh grass
The moist of the wet earth
In puddles of rain
Clouds are dancing
Cherry blossom petals sway on the wind
Their temporarily beauty gone
On this grave
Beneath the blooming wisteria
After the rain, clouds break open
The blue sky in all her beauty
Climbs towards heaven
Reaches for the sun
In front of the fireplace
Two souls become one in a glass of wine
Flames dance in her hand
He is granted a smile
After the heat this summer night
Honeysuckle perfume and coolness
Skin to skin we lay down
On the beach
Seagulls cry against the wind
Waves splash in the light of dawn
Reaching for the sun
Swaying on the warm air
Swallows dance together
Dewdrops vaporise as a new day rises
Morning glories bloom for just a moment
- to be continued -