HEAPS OF TIME

Tomorrow evening is Halloween — Samhain in the old agricultural calendar.  It is a very ancient holiday.  Traditionally, it is the beginning of winter, and the time when the spirits of the Dead return.  So it reminds us of all that is withering in Nature, and of our own mortality.

Buson wrote a hokku very much in keeping with this time of year.  You will recall that in traditional Japanese hokku, fallen leaves relate to winter, and winter corresponds to the latter part of old age and to death:

(Winter)

Heaped up
Around the old man’s shack — 
Fallen leaves.

The very old man is in keeping with winter, as are the fallen leaves piled up around his dwelling.  Being so old, he does nothing to sweep them away, and in the leaves that have fallen on one another, we feel the accumulation of the many years of the old man’s life.

frostyleaves

Where I have “old man,” the original has “long-life [person]”

 

David

 

 

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One Response to HEAPS OF TIME

  1. Ash says:

    Thank you for this reminder of what Halloween is really about.

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