Thursday, April 4, 2013

Poem(s) #4: Haiku

Star Wars haiku by Tai:

He wears green armor.
It is Mandalorian.
Who is he? Boba Fett.

Has a bunch of weapons.
It does not have hyperdrive.
It has 4 cockpits.

Some haiku by Basho (1644 - 1694)

The old pond.
A frog jumps in--
The sound of water.

butterflies flit
in a field of sunlight
that is all

How admirable,
he who thinks not, "Life is fleeting,"
when lightning flashes!

A tanka from the Manyoshu, a collection of poems from the 7th and 8th century Japanese court:

At Iwashiro,
I pull and bind the branches
of pines on the beach.
If good fortune rescues me,
I will return to see them.

This is one of those poems that's much better when you have more information: It is written in the voice of Prince Arima, who in 658 was accused of plotting a coup against the Empress and her nephew. He was taken for questioning to Muro (now part of Wakayama prefecture), where the court was visiting the hot springs. On the way, he stopped at the coast of Iwashiro to tie pine branches together--a custom of travelers praying for a safe journey. Sadly, his answers did not please his interrogators and he was taken back up the coast and strangled to death. He was nineteen years old.

Does that change everything about the poem for you, or what? Poor, desperately hopeful, doomed Prince Arima. The last line just breaks my heart.

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