Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Autumn Leaves that have fallen long ago

This is my little blonde sister with autumn maple leaves from nearly sixty years ago. I'm thinking this was a Kodachrome slide because of the way the color has lasted. If you are still wondering about what to do about the family slides, here's a hint! Get them scanned soon!!! What fun it is to be able to look at them again! I could wish Mom had pointed the camera a little lower, but this is what I have and I am very glad to have it. When I went away to college, this child was three years old! I would hardly know her at all if my parents hadn't invited my young family to live with them while my husband finished his education after his Army service; I got acquainted with her then.


Basho was the great Japanese poet who reinvented haiku so that we all could have this poetry in our lives. And there are many translators who have given us English versions of his writings in both prose and verse.

Autumnal haiku carry the sadness of the passage of spring and summer and the approach of the bitter cold of winter. A haiku about "turning leaves" or "falling leaves" thus carries some of the melancholy freight of this season. Here are some of Basho's autumn haiku as translated by Jane Reichhold.

departing autumn
with hands spread open
chestnut burs

autumn deepens
the man next door
how is he doing

I go
and you remain
two autumns

on a bare branch
a crow has settled
autumn dusk

this autumn
as reason for growing old
a cloud and a bird

These are available here, and also in her book, Basho; the complete haiku. There isn't any better place to start reading haiku than the work of Basho. Many good versions can be found by a Google Search such as "haiku by Basho." Here are some of the most well-known quotations from Basho's work as collected in Wikiquote. Other good classic haiku poets to look for are: Buson, Issa and Shiki. The book The Essential Haiku; versions of Basho, Buson and Issa by Robert Hass is another great place to start!

autumn dream--
back in my attic bedroom
watching the moon

June Hopper Hymas

I read recently of a challenge: write 10 haiku a day for 10 days. If I need to find some other resolve for the New Year, that might be a good one. Perhaps I will will have worn out the Daily Blog by December 31st.

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