Notes On Attention Paid

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03 The Daily Read, Part II:

The Haiku of Issa…

… today’s haikus are a little enigmatic…

… one about a moth finding brightness in the chamber of a woman, and being burnt to a crisp… the woman’s chamber is significant and brings the poet directly into the action… there is no need to describe the setting as a woman’s chamber unless there is an intended double meaning, that the poet is drawn to the flame of the woman and metaphorically burnt to a crisp for his labors… it does not sound as though his visit was entirely satisfactory… i look up moths as cultural symbols and find nothing substantial…

… another about scarecrows all being crooked… i look up the cultural significance of scarecrows in Japan and there is some… it is a folk deity, known as Kuebiko, representing folk wisdom, knowledge and agriculture1… Issa notes that he doesn’t know about the people in the town but the scarecrows are crooked… is this meant in a corruption kind of way?… or just a state of general disorderliness represented by lack of attention to their scarecrows, which are deities after all… or that one can expect problems with wisdom, knowledge and agriculture from the town he is entering… he identifies the town as his home town, so maybe it is about memories and formative experience… is he talking about himself more than the town?…

… another about plum trees blooming in January in other provinces… this is odd, plum trees do bloom from January into February and are considered harbingers of spring… so Issa is saying they bloom in other provinces but not where he is… since he does not identify the province he is in, i assume it is metaphorical, something about old age perhaps?… reaching the place of having little life left to offer?… an article in Wikipedia2 confirms the plum blossom as a symbol of spring and is believed to be a protective charm against evil… so the lack of blossoms is likely about old age and or lack of protection against evil… both?…