Sono-jo — another female writer of hokku — wrote:
Isogashi ya sumire wo tsumeba tsukuzuku shi
Busy ya violets wo picking thoroughly
So occupied —
Absorbed in picking
Sometimes one becomes so absorbed in an “absorbing” action that the “thinking” self fades from view, and is seen only in retrospect.
But however delicate and pleasant violets are in appearance and fragrance, there comes a time when we realize their brief existence, their impermanence, like that of all things, as again Sono-jo wrote:
Hana-gami no aida ni shioruru sumire kana
Flower-paper ‘s between at dried violets kana
The paper handkerchief —
It is a delicate hokku — a woman’s hokku — and somehow is more satisfying than Bashō’s
Yama-ji kite naniyara yukashi sumire gusa
Mountain-path coming something lovely violet-plant
Beside the mountain path —
A clump of violets.
It is not as good because it presents us with too wide a setting for the little violet plant, which gets lost in the vast scenery; but Sono-jo’s verse is looking right at the withered violets, which need not compete with anything else for our attention.