Sunday, August 7, 2016

The crane screeches, the cicada's cry: Deep Mystery in the Haiku of Bashō

Photo by Castlelass

In loving memory of the Jane Reichhold, who, among her many accomplishments, is her English language translation of 


     The crane screeches:
At its voice
     The bashō will surely tear

                         Translated by R. H. Blyth

In my morning reading (Haiku, v. 4, R. H. Blyth), I ran across the above Bashō poem which I didn't remember but which struck me immediately. It put me in mind of the more famous Bashō poem:

Sinking into the rocks,
A cicada's cry

        Translated by Makota Ueda

Some translations go so far as to say piercing the rock(s), which heightens the mystery inherent in the poem. What struck me here is the relationship between these two pieces, the first a touch more literal, the second, more famous poem, perhaps closer to the mystery.

And what of the mystery? The less said, the more realized? Perhaps the poems are each transcendent moments or, in this case, two moments sharing a certain otherness?

Thinking on these things, I took a break for breakfast, and began reading a review of a book on, believe or not, camping. In the book, as noted by the reviewer, the author made a rather a limp joke referencing one of Leonard Cohen's most famous verses:

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

Bad joke or not, as so often happens in my morning reading, the bell rang ... again and again and again.

Leonard Cohen's "Anthem."

my cracked teacup
like Buddha on display...
plum blossoms

             trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku. Here you will find Jane Reichhold's contribution.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

With a Deepening Presence Book Launch Party, Saturday, July 16th, & The Trouble with Poets, a Film by Tom Weber, Friday, July 15th

This Saturday, July 16th, at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, from 7:30 to 9:30, is the launch of With a Deepening Presence. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Presence will be sold at the special reading price of $8.

Reading will be Kristofer CollinsChristine Starkey, Che EliasScott Pyle, Rosaly Roffman, Bart Solarczyk, Bob Ziller and myself. Food and drinks (water, beer) will be provided. 

If you can't make it (or even if can), I'll be reading the night before at the screening of Tom Weber's film, The Trouble with Poets, at Pittsburgh Filmakers (477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh), from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.

The Filmmakers reading will be a general overview of my work. The launch reading will focus on the new book and a raft of all new poems never performed before. So, two nights, two very different readings.

Hope to see you at one or the other, or both.

yanking a radish
taking a tumble ...
little boy

translated by David G. Lanoue