On The Simple Haiku
Yes, you saw haiku at the end of that last post.
I’ve danced around haiku for the majority of my life. During my walk a few mornings ago, the desire to write a haiku was nearly unstoppable. It came from a pressing desire to distill the essence of the moment so I might remember it and share it. To me, haiku are verbal photographs capturing a snapshot of the moment. Much like photography, if done well, you are able to share that moment with others and they “get it.”
After writing those haiku, I found myself at the local library with my daughter. She headed to the manga section and I decided to pick up a few books by and about one of the classic masters, Basho. I checked out a copy of “The Master Haiku Poet Matsuo Basho” by Makota Ueda. It covers his life, his style and the different phases of his haiku writings. I’m not even halfway through it and I’m even more fascinated with the art form and the man than before.
One particular phrase from the book spoke to me.
“Basho’s solution was based on the principle of “lightness,” a dialectic transcendence of sabi. Sabi urges man to detach himself from worldly involvements; “lightness” makes it possible for him, after attaining that detachment, to return to the mundane world. Man lives amid the mire as a spiritual bystander. He does not escape the grievances of living; standing apart, he just smiles them away.”
I also found this wonderful article on “Sabi, Nature and Relationship.”
Since that morning, I’ve taken to using them as a tool to slow down, a meditative puzzle on how to see the world around me and place it into words. They place me in a receptive and pleasant state of mind which is what I am going for after all, right? I also see them as a journal, a way to mark the passing of my day by the interactions with nature I have experienced.
To that end I also checked out Basho’s “Narrow Road to a Far Province” which is a prose/poetry diary of his five month trip in the seventeenth century. That’s up next as soon as I’ve completed the one I am currently enjoying. I might even be a rebel and read them both at the same time.
And, yes, you’ll be seeing quite a bit more haiku on here.
I can guarantee you they will be nowhere near the quality of Basho’s. At least not for the next ten or twenty years anyway.