Notes On Attention Paid

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The Essential Haiku

… still making my way through the notes, which are numerous and informative…

… a note about the Basho poem More than ever I want to see… what Basho wants to see is the face of a god that is so hideous he will only appear at night, at dawn… hmmm… how would one ever know if not Japanese?… or have some good notes to learn from…

… Spring going… a departure poem that opens up The Narrow Road to the North… it speaks of birds weeping and tears in the eyes of fish, which the note tells us is about his departure from friends to journey to the north… context is important…

… in another note i learn about the book Basho’s Ghost, by Sam Hamill… i look to see if it is available, only a collectible one, paperback, for $200… there are two others starting at $796… umm… i will have to see if the Public Library has it, hopefully under lock and key…

… i will stop today, with the note on A Wild Sea…

A wild sea—

and flowing out towards Sado Island,

the Milky Way.1

… Robert Haas fears his translation doesn’t capture the grandeur of the poem commentators point to… he also tells me that at the time of Basho, the island was a penal colony where, according to Wikipedia, losers of political conflicts and dissidents were exiled… interestingly, i think one gets the grandeur of the wild sea and the Milky Way… the Island, it turns out, is fairly large, currently supporting a population of a little over 55,000, though in 1960, the population peaked at just over 113,000… the island has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years…


  1. Basho, translated by Robert Haas, from, The Essential Haiku, p 42. [return]