December 18th 2015

What should I write about today? I’ve spent the day cleaning my shop. I reorganized tools; separated tools I don’t use anymore; and am already imagining the day I won’t need any of them. But what to make a haiku out of? There’s a beautiful haiku by Basho:


our two lives:
·····between them has lived
···········the blossoming cherry


• translated David Landis Barnhill


Basho added that he wrote this after greeting a friend last seen twenty years before. I read it differently. By our two lives I thought he might be addressing the reade··r—me or you. Between his life and ours—a blossoming cherry. I don’t know if that kind of thinking would have made it into the language and subject of the era’s poetry but it occurs to me to write it that way. So, for a completely different haiku:


····two lives—between them has lived an apple


I mean you who reads this now and you who reads this a hundred and a thousand years from now, when I and my children have long since vanished, and which will be, nevertheless—now. Between us there has lived an apple blossom. And after you too are gone there will be another who reads this and another blossom: a life like ours, in living being no different, also come and gone.

Being alive, we are all alike.

But what to make of the day—sorting tools is no way to be remembered.


····no snow—the wind having nowhere
······to go


And I don’t know what to write. There was dust on the sawdust as I cleaned up. Unused tools remind me of the choices I thought I’d make, but didn’t. We make our plans but life always surprises.


42: December 18th 2105 | bottlecap

4 responses

  1. Oh! How can I express the beauty! Your haiku really isn’t beautiful…but is the very definition of beauty itself. My life has been changed forever this morning by the simple act of reading Basho’s timeless words and yours which in many ways is defined by yours.

    Very well done!


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