Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: Three Haiku

Thanks to the storm formerly known as Hurricane Ida, we've had a very blustery day. I was out in it, riding to and from tai chi class. I watched the trees grow more bare with every gust. It was haiku, that is, bittersweet, to know that when the color and cover of the leaves are gone, they won't return for a long while.

Issa would know what I mean.

Of his 9,300 poems, here are three.

blowing from the east
west south north...
autumn gale

vast sky
vast earth
autumn passes too

behind me
the autumn wind blows
me home

The translator, David G. Lanoue, suggests that on one level, "home" in the last poem means death, our final destination. Tradition probably supports that interpretation. But at the same time, having just been out in the wind and having it behind me only half of my journey, I think that "home" might indeed mean home -- the sense that having fought one's way to whatever errand one needed to run, one is now happy to be hurried home, no matter how humble "home" may be.

Then there is Thay's sense of "home." The autumn wind nudging us, pushing us, back home, to the present moment. If you're not paying attention, you'll fall down.

Translations by David G. Lanoue. Visit his website to search through them all.

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