Notes On Attention Paid

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02 The Daily Read:

The Essential Haiku, edited by Robert Hass, translations by Hass and others…

… Issa…

… todays set of poems are not as remarkable to me as yesterday’s, or are they?… they seem more pedestrian, telling flies to relax and make love (the idea is kind of gross), since the poet is going out (and therefor does not have to be annoyed by the flies, their soul (i reread and think to correct the spelling and then decide the current spelling has more poetic depth) purpose as far as most humans are concerned)…

… another poem about a counting the flea bites on her baby as she nurses them…

… a poem about paying a dime to look through a telescope, were telescopes even around in Issa’s time?… yes, invented more than 150 years before his birth… and wouldn’t ten cents have been rather dear for a look through a telescope at the time?… i wonder if Hass has updated the pricing to make the poem more relatable?… or course today it would be a dollar…

… another poem about a snail being stripped to the waist in the moonlight… as with any animal in Haiku, one has to look up it’s possible cultural significance… snails are a symbol of fertility, tolerance and perseverance… also of duality because of their hermaphrodite nature1… would this have been known in Issa’s time?…

… after some searching, an article that may explain the stripped to the waist reference in the snail Haiku… possibly referring to Saze Oni, a mythical snail creature that could shape shift into a beautiful woman… they bedeviled sailors much like the Sirens of Greek mythology2… i don’t know if this has anything to do with the snail poem…

… it is interesting that the reading of a small number of Haiku can generate so much additional reading as i look to see if their are meanings and allusions hidden from me, a Japanese culture outsider… much of the time there is…