Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Selected Haibun: Winter Thoughts

a haibun for Basho and Mary Oliver

rejection slip
a sunflower bending
to the wind

I often get editorial advice like this:

"You will notice that we veer away from authorial comment, abstract language, and the imposition of human qualities on the natural world. Instead, we choose haiku that achieve resonance through the juxtaposition of disparate images, credibly present in the same place at the same time."

Slanting sunlight through the attic window on my coffee-stained desk. Reading Basho's death poem, I can't help but wonder: if he were alive and submitted his poem under a different name, would he have been published at all?

Essential Basho…
my name will be written
in water or marble

Note: Historically speaking, Basho didn't write the formal death poem on his deathbed, but the following haiku, being his last poem recorded, is generally viewed as his poem of farewell.

sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors

NeverEnding Story, March 4, 2013