The Meaning of the Mount

Here is the link to click for a listen to Stephen’s BBC Radio programme about the literary heritage and present grim state of Japan’s Mount of Poetry, Mt. Ogura in Kyoto. This mountain was the subject of Hailstone’s most recent book, One Hundred Poets (see Publications page). The name of the programme is The Essay: The Meaning of Mountains: 1. Japan, for it is part of a five-part series. You can probably hear them all at this site for another week, possibly more. The programme itself begins 1 min. 15 secs. in (fast forward) and lasts just under 15 mins. Please enjoy listening to waka and haiku by Tsurayuki, Saigyo, Teika, Basho, Shugyo Takaha, Sachi Amano, and three Hailstones – Nobuyuki Yuasa, John Dougill, and Tito!


About the necks
Of stone Buddhas in a line,
Winter wind
Whistling like a flute.

鷹羽狩行 Takaha Shugyo

3 responses to “The Meaning of the Mount

  1. Excellent stuff! I enjoyed the programme very much and thank you for including my haiku. The pacing was very deliberate and effective, and I especially enjoyed the Japanese reader, particularly his superb chanting of one ‘uta’. Surely that’s how those old waka should be read. Altogether the broadcast captured the mix of spiritual-poetical response Mt Ogura evokes, together with the modern despoilment. It would seem a rather odd take for a series about world mountains, but I thought it worked wonderfully well. Nice work!

  2. My parents and I huddled around the computer to listen to your piece this evening in Wakefield, New Zealand. I was no longer half a world away from Kyoto as I listened to it. Measured, sonorous prose and poetry done to your usual high standard, Tito. It reminded me of what I knew about Ogurayama and added another level of discovery.

    General listeners who may have preferred something about the emblematic Mt Fuji will have found themselves unexpectedly moved by old and new verses about the “pitiful Dark One”.