Okouchi Sanso Composition Strolls

On September 14 & 28 吟行 ginko were held in the beautiful West Kyoto garden of 大河内山荘 Okouchi Mountain Villa. Paradoxically, the 14th was cooler than the 28th, but both days stayed fine and at least half a dozen Hailstone poets came along.

In the morning they had kindly helped the nature conservation NPO, People Together for Mt. Ogura, with their brushwood fence repairs in the bamboo groves on the hill’s lower slopes – right outside the Villa’s front gate. Its traditional Japanese-style garden was laid out in the Shōwa era by the film star, Ōkouchi Denjiro. Thank you to all the volunteers who came, even if perhaps not everyone managed to write poems afterwards.

Putting up a ladder
to an autumn cloud —
clasping it ………. (Tomiko Nakayama)

Tourist’s scribble*
on the bamboo cut down:
“I love you” ………. (Mayumi Kawaharada)

Collaboration eases
our bamboo forest work —
cool autumn breeze ………. (Akito Mori)

The conversation lulls —
a mantis
and a lizard
come out to talk ………. (Tito)

Retirement
for a samurai actor:
contemplating persimmons ……… (Sydney Solis)

Silent welcome
at the bamboo gate —
weather-beaten Buddha ………. (Ayako Kurokawa)

A big blue heart
cut out from the mackerel sky …
birds singing ………. (Mayumi Kawaharada)

One red maple leaf
in the chōzubachi* —
Mt. Ogura ………. (Sydney Solis)

From the moon-viewing platform:
over northern Ōmi*
a band of cloud, lit-up ………. (Tito)

Notes:
scribble 落書き – graffiti incised into the skin of a bamboo that had been growing near the path.
chōzubachi 手水鉢 – hand-washing basin, usually made of stone; this haiku may also be taken to allude to waka no. 26 小倉山峰のもみぢ葉 in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshū collection compiled in the early C13th by Fujiwara Teika in his villa at Mt. Ogura.
Ōmi 近江 – old name of Shiga prefecture, including all of Lake Biwa, at its closest 30 miles away; Bashō’s grave is located there.

7 Responses to “Okouchi Sanso Composition Strolls”

  1. I really enjoyed the conservation work and haiku stroll. A lovely time spent in nature and with great people and poets! Arigato!

  2. Reblogged this on Sydney In Osaka and commented:
    I participated in this wonderful Okouchi Sanso Composition stroll in the bamboo forest of Arashiyama, Kyoto, organized by my Haiku Sensei, Stephen Gill, whom I take haiku classes with in Senri-Chuo in Osaka. Here is Gill’s blog post on the Icebox about the event, featuring a few haiku by me as well as a few photos of me working to help repair the bamboo fence. Reminded me of my Colorado days, and how much I love being in nature.

  3. Ursula Maierl Says:

    What an evocatvie and lovely clutch of haiku! I could get a great sense of the environs. bravi!

  4. I’ll go out on a stalk and reveal my favorite hokku:
    Retirement
    for a samurai actor:
    contemplating persimmons ……… (Sydney Solis)

  5. Ursula Maierl Says:

    Sydney, I am intrigued by this persimmon-perusing samurai actor;
    will you reveal any more of the mystery?

    • Okouchi Denjiro (mentioned in the report) acted in samurai films, became a star, but when he retired to Okouchi Sanso led a contemplative life informed with Buddhism

  6. Ah, a working ginko? Nice to be able to take time off during work to write haiku. It`s interesting to read what can be noticed in a bamboo grove.

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