I was reading the National Geographic and came across the story of Matsuo Basho, a 17th century Japanese poet. Basho expertise was in the art of the haiku, a shortened poem that usually leads into a longer poem or prose. A haiku consists of 3 line, unrhymed poem. Each line follows the five, seven, five syllables format.
Interestingly the famed poet, feeling life was slipping away from him embarked on a 1200-mile trek across the Japanese countryside, mostly on foot! He earned his keep teaching students. He spent his days filling his notebooks of descriptions of the poetic countryside.
I have never mastered the haiku. I never really saw an excellent example of the style until I read this article.
Sadly, I part from you;
Like a clam torn from its shell,
I go, and autumn too.
Narrow Road, 1689 by Matsuo Basho
Every now and then I feel the need to add a little poetry to the mix. I hope you enjoy.
2 thoughts on “Basho’s Trail”
Those words are amazing! “Sadly, I part from you”, Basho says. In other words, Basho sees his life slipping from the strength and vigor of youth and adulthood and into the vulnerability of old age; he likens that vulnerability to ” a clam torn from its shell”. Notice how Basho feels that this journey into old age is something that is violent to him and how it’s being done against his will because he uses the word “torn”. Basho next says, “I go”. This is a very assertive statement. Basho has made up his mind that he’s going into his old age and is going to come face to face with it courageously and with bravery; he is not afraid. Lastly, as Basho announces that he will “go” and acknowledges his final journey into old age, he says, “and autumn too.” Here, Basho has likened his youth and adult years to the “autumn” part of the year. And as he leaves these years, he says the the “autumn” is leaving as well. In other words, Basho is saying that just as “autumn” is followed by winter, youth and adulthood are followed by old age.
Ms. Talulazoeapple, these are very meaningful words, very significant words. Indeed, these are very powerful words.
Ms. Talulzoeapple, how do you find the words of Zora Neale Hurston?
You are new to the site right, becuase ZNH is only my MOST favorite writer of all time.
That’s a post i did a few months ago that explains why.
That haiku is quite powerful in it’s brevity. It forces Basho to chose illustative and impactful words.
I love it.