Archive for June, 2009

Kiyotaki

Posted in Haiku, Japanese Classic, Summer on June 21, 2009 by Tito

Although not his death verse, the last haiku Basho completed during his lifetime was 清滝や波に散り込む青松葉 Kiyotaki ya, nami ni chiri-komu, ao-matsuba

..Ah, Kiyotaki!

..Scattered in your swirling waters

..Pine-needles’ green

revised on his deathbed in Osaka from a version composed at Kiyotaki a few months before. The Kiyotaki stream is only a couple of miles from my house in Kyoto, and I took Nobuyuki Yuasa there on Thursday for an evening visit to hear the singing of the 河鹿 kajika frogs from its shingle.

……………………………………………Creeping in the dark

……………………………………………Toward’s Basho’s monument,

……………………………………………A lone firefly ………………………(Sosui)

……Descant warbling

……Of the river-deer frogs –

……A roofless twilight inn ………………….(Tito)

Where Nintoku used to hunt

Posted in Event report, Summer on June 9, 2009 by Tito

Emperor Nintoku – / at Mozuno, hunting pheasant / for his amusement (Michio)P1090790-

Gist: Fourteen Hailstones fell on Mozuno 百舌鳥野, Sakai, in south Osaka, to view the largest tomb in Japan (her ‘Great Pyramid’, from the air ‘keyhole-shaped’ and now completely overgrown with forest) – that of 4th century emperor, Nintoku 仁徳天皇.

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Some of Japan’s earliest tanka were written by his first wife, Empress Iwanohime 磐之媛, and at the poem monument there, Michio read us some of her verse.

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The walk around the tumulus is nearly two miles, so after completing the first quarter, we ricocheted into Mozuno restaurant for a kukai instead (topics: ancient history and the moon). Below are some of the haiku composed and shared.

A vase, full / Of early summer trees – / Nintoku’s tomb (Tito)

the triple-moated imperial tumulus – / a balmy breeze / swaying it freely (Mizuho)

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Summer wind blowing / Down the huge wooded mound – / A memory of ancient sweat (Toshi)

everlasting love / of the empress’s poems: / around his tumulus / ripples gently spread (Keiko)

over the dark moat   a lit dragonfly (Hisashi)

her love poem inscribed / on a giant rock – / summer moon (duro)

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Gist: Later, some of the stones rolled on to Mozu Hachimangu shrine, famous for its autumn moon-viewing festival and sacred 800-year-old camphor tree.

On the way back home, many miles away, five of us held an impromptu Yodogawa riverbank moonrise party… before finally melting away into the night.

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Moon rising … / many jewels / brightening quietly / in the ancient tomb (Kaoru)

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My pillow, your arm

White as the radishes dug up

With wooden spades

By the women of mountainous Yamashiro:

Only if this had not been so

Could you truly say

You know me not.

(Emperor Nintoku to Iwahime in 342)