Notes On Attention Paid

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02 Haiku of Buson

… the poem that grabs my attention…

Fallen petals of red plum—

they seem to be burning

on the clods of horse shit.1

… it makes me laugh, the contradiction, something so ethereal in nature juxtaposed with something natural that is not…

… another one catches my attention… it is about tilling a field and a man who asks the way then disappears… my first understanding is literal… that a man has asked directions and once received, has proceeded on his way and moved out of sight… with a second reading the metaphorical nature of the poem comes through to me… the man asking the way is the same man doing the tilling and the way is spiritual practice… physical labor grounds one in the right hear, right now… the way… is that how crewing on the boat today will be?… my doubts and questions will recede into the necessity of the moment?…

  1. Buson. The Essential Haiku: versions of Basho, Buson & Issa. Translation, Robert Hass. The Echo Press, 1994. [return]