May 8th 2016

· the were
as if
····they were last year’s daffodils, these too will soon
········be gone
This haiku was inspired by Basho’s haiku:
Giving my grass hermitage to a family with daughters
a grass hut too
·····has a season of moving:
········a doll’s house

kusa no to mo / sumikawaru yo zo /hina no ie
·····translated David Landis Barnill


For this seemingly opaque haiku, Landis provides, compared to other haiku, one of the longer explanations:

The first hokku in Narrow Road to the Deep North, coming after the famous opening passage about the transitory character of life. Yo here can mean “world,” “period,” or “generation.” 3rd day of the Third Month was the Doll’s Festival when various dolls were displayed. With spring having arrived and Basho giving up his hut to a family, it is time of changing residence, but it is also a world in which change is predominant and fundamental, seen in generation after generation.


It was these last lines that inspired my own haiku. Every year the daffodils return, and though they look no different than daffodils of all the years before, they are not the same. They are new flowers in a world changed from the year before. My children are no longer little children. I am older. So is my wife. Nothing is the same.
And it’s strange, for a little while, that spring’s flowers fill me with such melancholy.
If this were like any other year, my one hundred and eighty second haiku would almost mark a half year’s worth of haiku. But this year was a leap year — 366 days. Tomorrow’s haiku will mark the last before I begin the closing half of my yearlong journey.
184 May 8 2016 | bottlecap

5 responses

  1. I definitely relate to this. Fall is when I really get sad about time passing, though. I always tell myself “next year I’m going to be outside more and enjoy summer” but then I never do. Then I mourn the wasted time.


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