While we are on the topic of literature, I have been wanting to share this. 3 weeks ago, cloudnine, moichan and I attended a salon lecture on ‘The Charm of Japanese Prose and Poetry : an Overview of the Literary Culture’. Now, you’re probably wondering what does a foreigner like me know anything about Japanese literature, let alone poetry! Hahaha, believe it or not, the lecturer himself is also a gaijin (Japanese word for foreigner), British to be exact. Mark Buckton is the editor of a few cultural magazines on Noh, Kabuki, sumo and has studied both classic and modern Japanese literature.
I was taken through a journey on Japanese literary history and the distinct characteristics of each era, its prominent scholars and their representative works :
~ Ancient diary-form of pillow books
~ the Kamakura-Samurai era of Noh and novels
~ the Edo period cultural evolution of Kabuki and birth of Haiku poetry(俳句)
~ the Meiji period of literary explosion and foreign influx
~ the modern Showa period with Nobel prize novelist Yasunari Kawabata(川端康成) and the equally famous but controversial Yukio Mishima(三島由紀夫)
Hmmm why do I always do this? This post starts out as a tribute to a beautiful *Haiku poem written by moichan (* Haiku is a poetic style of 5-7-5 syllables formation. The themes mainly are on nature, feelings or experiences, its challenge is to project an imagery to convey a deeper message) and now you see, I am babbling away again!
Like cloudnine, moichan is a gentle and caring Japanese sister whom I feel very comfortable when around her. Every word that comes out from her is of kindness and wisdom. That day, she gave me a token of summer greetings – this cute fish-mobile card :
But the magic is on the envelope! She has attached her Haiku poem and a picture of pure gardenia, so exquisite!
Her poem is written as this .......
hundreds of gardinias are in bloom
Later, moichan wrote to me about her poem .......
"I wanted to express two emotions in it.
1) loneliness of the gardenias left behind and the shack deserted
2) wonder of the cycle of the seasons; when time comes, nature
does everything it is supposed to so, regardless of the change
of human surroundings.
To be honest, the Haiku poem needs a basic mental framework of Japanese to appreciate more. However, international Haiku in English is getting more popular and recognized globally. So I think it has something common or universal to share with."
Dear moichan, since you wrote this after our Yong Joon has left Japan. May I interpret the ‘empty house’ as Japan and the ‘gardenias’ as his loving family? We blossomed into fragrant flowers when the prince was here, but now we are left in solitude as if the ‘life and spirit’ of a house is gone?
Moichan has also chosen another poem on the envelope for my reading pleasure. This is probably the most famous Haiku around, composed by Matsuo Bashō, a pioneer and master of Japanese poetry .......
古池や 蛙飛込む 水の音
a frog jumps
into the old pond
You can almost picture the disturbance caused to the tranquil atmosphere, or maybe even hear the sound of water splashing?
But I really like Bashō’s Haiku for Mt. Fuji, I can imagine the magnificence and beauty of Fujisan in winter .......
ひと尾根は しぐるる雲か 不二の雪
over one ridge
do I see winter rain clouds?
snow for Mt. Fuji
I hope you enjoy reading these enchanting poems and feel the sensitivity of the imagery. Hehe, but as I told moichan, I like her Haiku the best because it ushers me into such a beautiful and sad mood longing for our Yonsama. Thanks for letting me to share your creation here, moichan!