June 19th 2016

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Sunday’s
····strawberries in a white, porcelain
········bowl
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Shiki is considered the last of the four great poets of haiku. He famously developed a style of haiku called Shasei, the aim being “to depict as is”.  The aesthetic was a rebellion against the many techniques that had come to define haiku. As Jane Reichhold put it: “He favored the quiet simplicity of just stating what he saw without anything else having to happen in the ku. He found the greatest beauty in the common sight, simply said. And 99% of his haiku were written in his style.” Yet after writing so many Shasei, the artist in Shiki inevitably became restless, searching for yet a new way to express his ideas and vision.
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226 June 19th 2016 | bottlecap
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June 17th 2016

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gusts
····carrying a peony’s petal—the truck
········trembles
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The day before yesterday was a beautifully windy day in Vermont—clear skies and intermittent clouds. The trees, once more with leaves, bent and nattered with the burden. Seeing some of the late petals surrendered to the gusts, I was somehow reminded of Buson’s famous haiku:
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a heavy cart
rumbles by—
peonies tremble
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  • haiku mind | translated Patricia Donegan
 
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224 June 17th 2016 | bottlecap
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June 15th 2016

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secretly
····crossing the road—a mid-afternoon
········shower
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Less than a week left of spring and I feel just as I did at the end of winter, ready for new kigo (even if I’m making them up). Standing back of my wildflower garden, the stretch of yard I don’t’t mow, I could build my little Mozart Hütte. Wouldn’t take long. Basho, without family or attachments, wandered Japan’s narrow roads and took to cabins built for him by admiring students and patrons. That’s the life for a poet. Disciples. Adulation. Patrons.
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sanding—
····the clapboards don’t care if I’m a great
········poet
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222 June 15th 2016 | bottlecap
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June 13th 2016

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butterfly—
····slipping into the cracks of an early morning
········mist
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Far Beyond the FieldI was cleaning out books that I haven’t read in years, and found one book I’d forgotten—Haiku by Japanese Women: Far Beyond the Field. I love the book and will read it again. All the most widely read Japanese women hakuists are represented along with short biographies. Despite the brevity of the haiku, there’s a very different sensibility to these poems. One of my favorites by the earliest poet represented, Den Sutejo (a near exact contemporary of Basho):
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getting used
to hardship—a bride-grass
in the snow
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The note to this haiku:
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  • A play on the word bride-grass, which is a species of wild chrysanthemum. In modern Japan, a married woman usually lived with her husband’s parents, whom she was expected to serve with the utmost reverence and loyalty. Here, the new bride is beginning to experience the chill of these obligations as the marriage, like winter, sets in.
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220 June 13th 2016 | bottlecap
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June 12th 2016

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waning
····moon—even the scent of the lilac
········colder
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This isn’t the haiku I originally wrote. What I first wrote:
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heat
····lightning—the days will soon grow
········shorter
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Though in just over a week the days will grow shorter again, this haiku still feels like it belongs to late summer.
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219 June 12th 2016 | bottlecap
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June 10th 2016

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coloring
····June’s early morning apples—autumn’s
········russet
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The poems don’t come easily these last two weeks. Out working today, but wanting to rewrite last night’s haiku. All the while, entertained by a murder of crows in and out of the nearby trees, gabbing in cackles, jeers and prittle-prattle from the start to the end of the day.
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217 June 10th 2016 | bottlecap
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