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

thousands of footprints ~ fusion haiku

In the days of the samurai, two ancient roads linked Japan’s two great cities of Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo). Lords would travel these routes, accompanied by armies of samurai. Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #105 – Turn Back Time offers two haiku regarding the “Samurai’s Mountain Road,” one by Yosa Buson and the other by Matsuo Bashō, as inspiration for a tanka or haiku. My response is a fusion haiku, with elements of both.

changes happening
first yellow leaf on maple
autumn upon us
               Buson

quiet forest path
dry leaves stirred up by my feet
centipede scurries
                    Bashō (tr. Chèvrefeuille)

yellow maple leaf
following path to winter
waiting for no one

Image source: ukiyo-e.org – Kageishi in the Mountains of Hakone, by Kawanabe Kyosai