Monday, October 1, 2018

Carpe Diem #1511 Basho's Blossoms (Revise That Haiku)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know I see Basho (1644-1694) as my sensei (master) and my master has written a lot of haiku inspired on the beauty of the diversity of blossoms. So for today's episode I have chosen to challenge you to revise a "blossom"-haiku written by Basho, but let me first give you a few examples of haiku on blossom by Basho:

haru tachite mada kokonoka no noyama kana

passed the first day of spring,
it’s only nine days
on the hills and fields.

shoshun mazu sake ni ume uru nioi kana

firstly, at the beginning of spring,
they sell sake and plum blossoms
and I smell them.

konohodo wo hana ni rei iu wakare kana

“thanks for all”
expressing my gratitude to blossoms
at the parting.

(C) Matsuo Basho

!! If you not specify the name of the blossom than in haiku blossom always means the blossoms of the cherry tree !!

For example: In the 2nd haiku in the Japanese line you can find "ume", "ume" means plum blossom.

Mount Fuji "surrounded" by Cherry Blossoms
For today's challenge revising the haiku I have chosen two haiku by Basho. I will give both of the "stories" behind the haiku maybe it can help you to revise the haiku. You may choose one or two haiku to revise. Not the above three by the way, but the two following now:

Haiku 1:

hana no kumo  kane wa ueno ka  asakusa ka

a cloud of cherry blossoms;
the temple bell,-
is it Ueno, is it Asakusa?

© Basho (1644-1694, taken from R.H. Blyth’s "Haiku, Volume 2)

R. H. Blyth translated Basho’s haiku into English and noted:

It is early afternoon.  The air is warm and hazy.  As Basho sits in his hut at Fukagawa, he can see, when he wishes, the cloud-like masses of cherry-blossoms in the direction of Ueno and Asakusa.  The boom of a great temple bell comes sounding across the fields; it must be from one of these two places.

Haiku 2:

samazama no koto omoidasu sakura kana

how many, many things
they call to mind
these cherry-blossoms!

© Basho

R. H. Blyth also translated Basho’s haiku into English and noted:

Basho renounced the world on the death of Sengin, that is,Todo Yoshitada, son of Todo Shinshiro, who was in charge of Ueno Castle.  Twenty years later, in 1687, he was invited by his former master Todo Shinshiro, and the above verse was the result.  Looking at the same flowers in the same garden when he had spent his youth with his friend, Basho felt what Wordsworth says in the mouth of the Wanderer:

I see around me here
Things which you cannot see; we die, my Friend,
Nor we alone, but that which each man loved
And prized in his peculiar nook of earth
Dies with him, or is changed.

© Wordsworth

Two amazing haiku by Basho to revise. Don't be shy to revise his haiku, because of his great name, because Basho also revised his haiku several times. For example: He revised his "Narrow Road Into The Deep North" several times to make it the perfect haibun. So no shame to revise ...

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CEST) and will remain open until October 8th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our next episode later on. For now ... have fun!

Revisit the first episode ever of our special feature Revise That Haiku (October 12th 2013)

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