02 The Daily Read:

Issa haiku…

… a remarkable set of poems this morning, of the six i read, all six stand out for one reason or another…

… the first pictures a dry river bed seen by the light of a lightning strike… a river bed that is about to flow with water again… a creative mind about to be released into creating by a powerful experience… a poem about summer rains?… where i live, rivers are more likely to be dry in the summer… thunderstorms and heavy downpours are more likely then too… there is also the threat of flash flooding… to much water in too little time…

… the second begs a flea not to jump, as the river is where it will likely land… i suppose it is very Buddhist to wish continued health and well being on even a lowly “nuisance” creature… i would have flicked it to it’s drowning death… of course, the poem might also be about undertaking challenges that are too big, perhaps the flea is the novice, beginner mind, that wishes to forge ahead too quickly and will be drowned if it does?…

… the third talks about how being in this world is like walking on the roof of hell, distracted by the lovely yellow flowers… a poem about not being willing to do the hard work of facing all aspects of one’s reality?… of not admitting the horrors of life which abound… of only being able to acknowledge the pleasures of life, superficial as they may be…

… the fourth is about being naked on a naked horse riding through the rain… now there is a foundational nature image… i read that the Japanese worshipped the horse as a god and “believed that the “divine spirit” appeared in the human world on horseback”1… i also read that the horse is very important in Buddhism… Siddhartha2, the future Buddha, had a white horse that was his favorite and which transported him when he escaped from palace life and began the journey of becoming a spiritual leader… and so, the image of naked human on naked horse in the rain is a deeply spiritual image?…

… the fifth is about a fly wringing its front and hind legs, begging not to be killed… again, i would struggle to be a Buddhist in such a situation…

… and the sixth is about a cat frolicking on a scale and weighing itself… this catches my attention because i wonder what sort of scale would have been in use during Issa’s lifetime?…