Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to contemplate our “inspirations and forebears.” In the art of haiku, the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho is widely viewed as the original master, inspiration and forebear.
In 1686, he wrote a haiku that became instantly famous, and remains so to this day. It has been variously translated, but this seems to be an accepted version:
the old pond
a frog jumps in
the sound of water
Some translations have the last line as “the splash of water” or even “plop!” which I actually like best, because it makes me smile.
Basho’s ability to capture a single moment was brilliant and distinctive. His twin talents of writing and teaching drew people in. At his cottage, he hosted contests and renga gatherings–poetry parties (yes, poetry parties!) held for the purpose of writing collaborative, linked poems.
He took long journeys, walking hundreds of miles on four separate trips over the last ten years of his life, either alone or with a student/apprentice. In one of his travel journals, “The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel,” he wrote that his mind “knows no other art than the art of writing poetry, and therefore, hangs on to it more or less blindly.”
As he grew older he grew more frail and reclusive. (I can relate to that.) After his last journey, he wrote:
falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass
My photo haiga is intended to reflect the spirit of these two haiku of the master Basho, albeit updated, in my own voice and reflecting on my own life. I hope I have succeeded in paying homage.
This artist has many photographs and masterful artistic manipulations posted on Pixabay. Click on his name to see them all.