Saturday, December 18, 2010

Silent Flowers

Click to enlarge

Somehow, in the midst of making lists and researching gifts and recipes, etc., yesterday, I completely forgot that it was Friday, and therefore completely missed Haiku My Heart Friday. Well, I knew it was Friday, but just... forgot. Holidaze.

But I remembered when the mail delivery brought a lovely and thoughtful gift from my art sister, Barbara – a little book of Japanese haiku titled 'Silent Flowers'. It's filled with wonderful translations of the works of Basho, Issa, Buson and others, as the one in the photo above.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

"Wordsworth defined poetry as 'emotion recollected in tranquility.' Japanese haiku fulfill that definition with significance and beauty. They represent a whole world, a manner of daily living and a religious and poetic experience. Masters at recognizing a certain 'something' in unexpected situations, haiku poets recreate small moments discovered in the real world but suggesting the world of the spirit."

I think that sums it up very nicely. The book was edited by Dorothy Price and illustrated by Nanae Ito. Copyright 1967. Just lovely. I just want to sip my hot tea on this cold, gray winter day and read the springtime poems again and again.

I'll leave you with a few selections.

Sacred music at night;
Into the bonfires
Flutter the tinted leaves.


Treading on the tail
Of the copper pheasant,
The setting sun of spring.


The sound of tears
Hissing, quenching
The banked charcoal.




  1. I have a card from back in the hospital daze. Basho, "Barn burnt down, now I can see the moon." That sentiment will stick with me forever.

  2. I enjoyed the one about the copper pheasant. Chinese pheasants are so incredibly beautiful!

  3. Winter, I've long loved that one, too. It was a 'hello' moment for me.

    Bill, I agree. My favorite of the three I posted here, as well.