Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. This month we are busy with creating Tan Renga, a short chained verse written by two poets. The Tan Renga looks similar with the tanka, but the tanka is written by one poet.
Today I have a haiku by a disciple of Matsuo Basho, Takarai Kikaku. Kikaku was one of the most renown disciples of Basho and he had a very warm relation with his master. Let me tell you a little bit more about Takarai Kikaku.
|Takarai Kikaku (image found on Pinterest)
Takarai Kikaku was a Japanese haikai poet and among the most accomplished disciples of Matsuo Bashō. His father was an Edo doctor, but Kikaku chose to become a professional haikai poet rather than follow in his footsteps. Kikaku’s poetry is known for its wit and its difficulty. Whereas Basho, especially in his later years, focused on the countryside and espoused an aesthetic of simplicity, Kikaku preferred the city and the opportunities it provided for extravagant play. He also preferred a more demanding form of poetry, one laced with wordplay, allusions, and juxtapositions of images that defy easy explanation. At the time of his death, he was perhaps the leading poet in Edo (today’s Tokyo), which then had a population of around one million, making it perhaps the largest city in the world at the time.
And here is the haiku to work with:
a flying squirrel across
the wisteria’s mantle
© Takarai Kikaku (Tr. unknown)
In this haiku Kikaku describes a wonderful scene ... and you can easily see his talent and you can even sense the master, Matsuo Basho, in it.
|Vintage Japanese Shin Hanga Woodblock Print by Toshi Yoshida - Wisteria at Ushijima