Here is a waka by Jakuren (died 1202).  It is out of season, but it tells us something significant:

Sabishisa wa
Sono iro to shi mo

Maki tatsu yama no
Aki no yūgure

The color of it
Has no name.

Pines rise on the mountain
In the autumn dusk.

Some translate sabishisa as “loneliness,” but it is not quite that.  It is more the feeling of solitude amid a world of transience.  This transience — this impermanence of all things — ourselves included — is particularly felt in autumn, and we feel it most when alone.  So if you see sabishisa in that context, you will better understand it.



4 thoughts on “SOLITUDE

  1. Lovely poem. Though it is not seasonal for this time of year, it strikes the right season for my life right now. Thank-you for the helpful language clarifications. Translation at best is approximate. This is especially the case in poetry and even more so between dissimilar cultures. I always enjoy your commentary on Hokku.

  2. Hokku Novice

    I feel sabishisa often, but less so in the forest on my slow walks. I feel less alone there than I do in the towns and cities. Thanks, David.

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