Kompukuji (金福寺), near Keizan Ichijōji Station in Higashiyama, Kyoto, was founded in 864, and is the site of the Bashō-an (芭蕉庵), a hut that the poet visited in 1670 and that was afterwards dedicated to him. Yosa Buson (与謝蕪村) and his disciples helped restore the hut in 1760. On Buson’s death in 1783, his disciples erected a tomb on the hill overlooking Bashō-an and its adjacent well. Thus this little-known temple is something of a mecca for poets!
We were fortunate, then, that it was quiet on the Saturday afternoon (3 December) when we 15 Hailstones visited, led by Tito. We were able to take our time, even sitting on the engawa (perching boards) of the hut to compose our responses. The guest of honour was Maeve O’Sullivan of Haiku Ireland.
… Thatched with water reeds
… topped with maple leaves –
… Basho-an, the poet’s hut Maeve
… Peeling shōji –
… a corner thumbtack
… holds sway Albie
Perhaps it was the fact that the autumnal leaves were a little past their prime that staved off the crowds, but we were still surrounded by rich golden and scarlet hues, the light-blue sky above and the soft greens of the moss at our feet forming a poignant contrast.
… Maple leaves
… dying beautifully Branko
… Lantern of Kompukuji’s
… soft stillness –
… lichen dresses you Christine
… Footpaths through shadows
… leave the bright colors behind –
… Buson’s resting place Peter
… Framed by the temple gate
… Deer and mountain silhouette –
… The sinking sun
… shika nagara / saneimon ni / iru hi kana
This was Buson’s original, alluded to above in Tito’s haiku.
After our extended visit to the temple, we repaired to Café Anone, near the train station, joined by co-organiser Ursula for coffee and cake and the recital of haiku and haibun.
[Notes: ginkō – composition stroll; shōji – paper window screens]