THE RECEPTIVE MIND

A very loose rendering of a verse by Kitō put into daoku form:

(Autumn)

Midnight;
With dew-wet eyelashes,
Gazing at the moon.

Notice how the focus is taken off a “me” and placed only on the dew-wet eyelashes, the moon, and the night. When you read this, you should feel the drops of dew on your eyelashes too.  That is how hokku conveys an experience of the senses in simple words, from writer to reader.  The reader becomes the experiencer.  The words are just the “seeds of poetry” that burst into bloom in the mind of the reader.  That is why it is best not to think of daoku as poetry — but more as just an experience of Nature and the place of humans within and as a part of Nature, set in the context of the seasons.  The poetry happens in the receptive mind, and it happens quickly.

One thought on “THE RECEPTIVE MIND

  1. “The words are just the ‘seeds of poetry’ that burst into bloom in the mind of the reader.” I really like that statement!! It says a lot about what hokku/daoku is. The writer is simply delivering an experience of the senses in as few words as possible, and the reader must be receptive to that, and must interpret it in their own way. Nice explanation, David!

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