Baikamo Ginko at Samegai

Not far from where the Hokurikudo Road leaves the Nakasendo Road is an old village called Samegai, in whose spring, still flowing today, Yamatotakeru, a hero of ancient times, once sought to heal his wounds. Hailstone Haiku Circle held a composition stroll (ginko) here on 23 July. Twelve poets attended.

We shared verse in a room rented in the village hall, and later via email voted for our favourites of the day. The two most popular haiku were:

dangling trumpet vine ………………………………………. Laughter –
not quite reaching ……………………………………………. Children wrestling
the cold clear river ……………………………………………. With a giant trout.
……….. (Jiko) ………………………………………………………………………….. (Kyoko Noguchi)

The two runners-up were:

waiting … ……………………………………………………….. under maple leaves
a solitary moment’s wish ……………………………… refugee trout doze
on the stream’s small stone bridge …………….. away from scorching sun
…………… (Ursula Maierl) ……………………………………………………….. (Mari Kawaguchi)

Equal fifth were:

Summer – ……………………………………….. Against white and orange pebbles
The toadstools, too ……………………….. The fishes’ warp
Beside the Niu Stream …………………… On weft of light
Quietly growing. ……………………………………………………….. (Tito)
…………… (Okiharu Maeda)

A visit was also made to the nearby Trout Farm, more than one hundred years old, a beautiful place coursing with a boundless supply of clear mountain water.

Elves in white ………………………………………… old times back again
Dancing under the weedy water – ………. feet, heart, memories stir
A Nakasendo village. …………………………….. in Takeru’s spring
………….. (Toshi Ida) …………………………………………………… (John McAteer)

8 Responses to “Baikamo Ginko at Samegai”

  1. Thanks again to Masako Fujie and Keiko Yurugi for organizing! ‘Baikamo’ is the name of the water-weed which hoists its tiny white flowers in the rushing stream (Toshi’s ‘elves’).

  2. thanks for the organizers
    a wonderful day!

  3. Dear friends,
    Reading the poems you composed on this haiku stroll, I could not help feeling envious. I was once an eager trout fisherman and went to many moutain villages in Hiroshima and Shimane prefecturs looking for trout. Do you know that trout in the rivers running into the inland Sea is called Amago? It has beautiful purple spots on its sides. The trout in the rivers running into the Japan Sea is called Yamame. It is also beautiful but it does not have purple spots. When I was a student, there was no season for trout fishing, so I sometimes fished in mid-winter in deep snow. Winter trout is easy to catch but it does not fight and its colour is somewhat rusted (sabiru). This is because they spawn in late autumn and lose strength after that. I think you all know that salmon dies after spawning, but trout survives and recovers its strength again in spring. When I went to America, I took bamboo fishing poles for I wanted to fish in rivers in California. I was held at the airport because inspection officers suspected that I was smuggling something dangerous. Back in 1950s Japanese were suspects. However, when I fished with bamboo poles at the foot Mt. Shasta, I had a marvellous result. American friends were fishing mainly in deep pools with their short poles equipped wtih reels, but I was fishing in shallow parts of the river where trout is feeding in summer and nobody else has fished before. However, Japanese bamboo poles were not strong enough for American rainbow trout. I lost all the poles I had brought from Japan in a few days!
    The drops of water
    Dripping from the side of the trout
    Shine in purple and gold.

    Hooked a rainbow trout —
    Ten minutes of endurance
    Before I can pull it in.

  4. Captivating fisherman’s anecdotes, Nobuyuki, and no claiming to have caught the biggest one ever! Rather than the biggest, perhaps the most beautiful, though … with those drops of water reflecting the colours of the fish. They are shining on inside my eyes right now. Thank you.
    I also very much like Mari’s refugee trout dozing away under the green maples.

  5. Rereading these offerings, I recalled how evocative this setting was.
    On sharing these with a haiku novice, she replied “Sorry. I don’t understand anything.” It made me consider haiku and how strongly
    contextual it can be; with its strong cultural imagery often unfamiliarity to those in another land, its immediacy
    coupled with the poet’s personal vision and its sheer brevity and ellipses -it can indeed be a mysterious art form!

    • Well said, Ursula. It’s true. What we find so subtle and resonant, another may simply not care to read even one more time, having failed to grasp the poignancy or wonder the first time through. Haiku are an acquired taste, shall we say?

  6. Kazue Gill Says:

    I could feel the heat of the day and the really refreshing coolness of the Samegai stream through the poems.
    Thank you

  7. from Kyoko’s poem… so much to get from these scene of children wrestling.

    From Ursula’s poem… “waiting…” takes me from that moment to the future. nice metaphorical image w/ stream.

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