Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Carpe Diem #1776 arranging the plum-flowers (Taigi)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

If you are a long time participant here, you will remember that special feature "Revise That Haiku", in which I challenged you to "revise" a given haiku by one of the classical haiku poets. Today I love to bring a "reprise" of one of the episodes of "Revise That Haiku".

For this episode I have chosen a haiku written by Taigi (1709-1771 ?), a contemporary and friend of Buson. I will first give the haiku (including the Japanese Romaji) and then I will give the description of the moment which led to the haiku.

Plum Blossom (Chinese painting)
umi ikete tsuki to mo wabin tomoshikage

arranging the plum-flowers,
I would enjoy them in the light of the lamp,
as if in the moonlight

© Taigi (1709-1771 ?)

The brevity of haiku is not something differnt from, but a part of the peotical life; it is not only a form of expression but a mode of living more immediately, more closely to life as may be illustrated in the above haiku by Taigi.

The original of the above haiku is even more difficult, literally: "arranging the plum, as if the moon, I would savour, lamp-light" (Wabiru translated 'enjoy', 'means' to live a life of poetry in poverty). The poet has arranged the flowers in a vase, and wishes to see them in the light of the moon, but there being no moon, he lights the lamp instead, and adds its light to the poetry and the beauty of the flowers.
The whole of the poet's life is shown in this action and the essence of the verse in wabin. This poverty, this asceticism of life and form in haiku, this absence of luxury and decoration finds its philosophical and transcendental expression in Emanuel Swedenborg's (a Swedish philosopher who lived from 1688 until 1772) "Heaven and Hell" (paragraph 178); after he has described the garments of the angels, some of which glow with flame, some of which shine with light, he adds:

"But the angels of the inmost heaven are not clothed".

Well ... with the desciption of the moment I think you can revise that haiku ... so ... "break a leg", have fun, be inspired and share your revised Taigi-haiku with us at Caroe Diem Haiku Kai.

Plum Blossom

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 13th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.

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