A Journey with Bashō ~ solo renga

Matsuo Bashō

A Journey with Bashō

 faithful servant
gains high regard for renga
chained cherry blossoms
~~~
learning the art of a craft
by following a master
~~~
once mentor is gone
student becomes a teacher
butterfly takes wing
~~~
thoughts turn to honored poet
with the voice of a master
~~~
a reclusive life
beside a banana tree
plagued by loneliness
~~~
follow master’s example
find solace in distant friends
~~~
seeking peace of mind
traveling on narrow road
snow on the mountain
~~~
learn new lessons every day
while discovering friendship
~~~
lightness discovered
in search for satisfaction
until last snowfall
~~~
willing to learn from the past
even as my years grow long

 

For Poetics: Poems to a Poet, Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub asks us to write a poem about, or addressing, a favorite poet, trying to employ something of the poet’s style. To create this chain of verse regarding Matsuo Bashō, I decided to write a renga (Japanese linked verse poetry, typically collaborative), with haiku referencing his life and responses that reflect my own journey.

Matsuo Bashō was a master of haiku and renga, culminating with the publication of The Narrow Road to the Interior in 1694. As a page or servant, he learned a love for renga and went on to become a teacher, respected for his haiku. Bashō was known for his many travels from Edo (now Tokyo), vacillating from seeking friendship to an escape from the company of others. Near the end of his life, “he relented after adopting the principle of karumi or “lightness”, a semi-Buddhist philosophy of greeting the mundane world rather than separating himself from it.” (per Wikipedia) Also, “rather than sticking to the formulas of kigo [seasonal words], which remain popular in Japan even today, Bashō aspired to reflect his real environment and emotions in his hokku.” (early term for haiku)

Images from Wikimedia Commons
Poet Basho and Moon Festival, by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
Portrait of Matsuo Basho, by Hokusai

50 thoughts on “A Journey with Bashō ~ solo renga

  1. Love this poem and your tribute. About 4 years ago we were fortunate to take back-to-back cruises that went to China and Japan. In Japan, we visited a wonderful place with temples, shrines….and in an out-of-the main tourist path, a burial tribute to Matsuo Basho. I was so humbled to stand there by this simple plaque bearing his name and his words….both in English and Japanese. He is revered.

    Liked by 1 person

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