Archive for September, 2018

Renga: ‘As Close to Triglav’

Posted in Renga, Travel with tags on September 29, 2018 by Branko

P1150717 triglav houses medium

Evening, 9 Sept. 2018, Radovljica, Slovenia; a linked verse co-edited by Stephen Gill (Tito), Dimitar Anakiev (Kamesan) & Branko Manojlovic; based partly on a long journey made between summer and autumn. Footnotes are appended.

.

As close to Triglav1
as we could be …
a cloud or two apart

Tito

Autumn begins: my
two guests were looking for a church
but they found me

Kamesan

In the mountain breeze
a campanula2 has turned
deep gentian blue

Branko

To my pen as I write
atop the peak —
hoverfly

Tito

Very long ginko3
jotting down poetry
using a goldenrod4

Kamesan

Sun-ignited clouds
weighing into
the Julian Alps5

Branko

Lying on its side
on a carpet of grass,
a foal in bliss

Tito

Snails, cats and me —
in the kiwi garden today
friends from Kyoto

Kamesan

The slower path:
deep in forest
spindle6 berries

Branko

A sea wind
blowing through the belfry,
the bells almost tone

Tito

It’s getting colder —
next to a Communist shrine
the Crucifixion

Kamesan

Here Soča7 ran red
with soldiers’ blood …
kids throwing stones

Branko

The pale weeping tree
planted above
my white dog’s8 grave

Tito

Hard for me to grasp
the vanishing of a world:
yerba buena9

Kamesan

Imagine the bulging eyes
that first spied these
viridian lakes10

Branko

Wavering beneath me
through sun-dappled shallows,
faces of mosaic saints

Tito

My big moustache
too wild it got this morning —
the street is so steep

Kamesan

Through the hushed arteries
of ancient Piran11
to its very heart

Branko

A pair of flip-flops
left at the base of the olive —
a story awaits

Tito

Those xenophobic
mosquitoes: bite after bite
for fugitives

Kamesan

In Lika valley12
dark-eyed Syrians — a wary
herd of deer

Branko

.

Footnotes:
1 Mt. Triglav, highest mountain in Slovenia (and former Yugoslavia), 2864m, visible at rear left in the photo
2  campanula, bellflower
3 ginko, haiku composition stroll
4 goldenrod, tall yellow-flowered genus, solidago, mostly from N. America
5 Julian Alps, easternmost range in the Alps, stretching from Italy into Slovenia
6 spindle, pink-berried shrub genus, euonymous
7 Soča, river flowing to the Adriatic from the Julian Alps, scene of First World War fighting between Italy and Austro-Hungarian Empire
8 white dog, a spaniel from upland Nepal named Gabbitas, buried in England
9 yerba buena, spearmint
10 viridian lakes, Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
11 Piran, old port town in Slovenian Istria
12 Lika, region of central Croatia, bordering northern Bosnia-Herzegovina

P1150613 poets on Talež medium

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Persimmons – part 7

Posted in Haibun, No/All season with tags , on September 20, 2018 by sosui

. I should like to end my haibun with a paragraph or two on kakishibu (persimmon varnish). I do not know exactly how it is made, but suppose it must be by condensing and fermenting persimmon juice. It is used mainly as a coating for traditional Japanese paper, thereby not only strengthening it but also making it waterproof. Thus a raincoat called kamiko came to be made, first for the priests of the Risshu sect to wear, but later for warriors and travellers as well. It was both light and warm. It was one of these raincoats that Basho took on his journey to the North. Persimmon varnish is also used to coat paper umbrellas. Seeing pictures of them on the Internet recently, I was surprised by the variety of designs. The traditional colour was brown, but now they seem to come in bright colours like red and green and make good decorations for restaurants and hotels.

. I have fond memories of persimmon-varnished fans. They were always sturdy ones and kept me very cool. I always used to pick out a fan of this type from the bamboo case in which we kept our fans at home. Nowadays, the Internet shows fans of this kind in many different colours, but mine was dark brown. I prefer this traditional colour. When summer comes again, I will probably buy a new one.

Let me take a nap,
Using a fan coated with
Persimmon varnish.

this instalment concludes Nobuyuki Yuasa’s haibun