Michael Bogdanffy-kriegh

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The Haiku of Issa

… each day i read six Haiku from The Essential Haiku, translations by Robert Hass… i do it as a mindfulness practice, to start my day with something centering, something that shows how to be in the moments and see what is present, what is important, what your connection to the earth, sun, moon and stars is…

  • thirty days after the daughter’s death… fall winds, flowers the daughter liked to pick…
    • a visit to the daughters grave in the fall with the flowers she liked to pick…
    • a melancholy poem…
  • a woodpecker still drilling as the sun goes down…
    • little information on the symbolism of woodpeckers in Japan, but i did read that they are incredibly industrious, foraging for food, building nests, drilling holes in which to store food for the winter… this poem seems to be a nod to that industriousness…
    • as i contemplate the poem, i wonder about human industriousness… humans have something called leisure time… is that a good thing?… well, perhaps it is mostly older humans that arrive at a place with leisure time… i don’t know… i work pretty hard, try to write and make pictures every day… among other things…
  • autumn mountains recede against a clear pale sky…
    • this one seems quite literal… i wonder if the mountains equate to time passing and there is a melancholy about being towards the end of life and mountains that won’t get climbed…
  • upon the son’s death… asking why the wild pink broke…
    • best i can figure is wild pink refers to flowers of the spring, maybe pink moss?… why was life ended at such an early age?…
  • a pheasant cries, did it just notice the mountain?…
    • the author staring at the mountain?… a pheasant cries bringing him out of his mountain reverie and leading to a pondering of the motivations of pheasants…
  • mother guarding, foal drinking water from the pond…
    • this one seems like a straight forward rendering of a scene… horses are significant in Japanese culture, gods in their mythology, but i am not sure that knowledge helps an understanding of the poem…