Tag Archives: seasons

CANDLEMAS AND CONTROVERSY

Yes, today is Candlemas — Imbolc — the beginning of spring in the old calendar.  It hardly seems like it, waking to a freezing wind and the likelihood of snow, but nonetheless the Wheel of the Year has turned, and … Continue reading

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ARRANGING A HOKKU: SHIKI’S GATE

I often say that in spite of his reputation as the “founder” of haiku, Shiki really wrote hokku, though he tended toward verses that were like sketches in words.  Perhaps you have come across Blyth’s translation of one of his … Continue reading

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HOKKU PATTERNS: SETTING/SUBJECT/ACTION AND SUBJECT/ACTION

There are many ways of arranging the elements of an experience to make a hokku.  We always think first of the common “Setting/Subject/Action” method, found in hokku such as this slight variant on one by Seibi: (Winter) The flame of … Continue reading

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GLAD YULE: THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Tomorrow — December 21st — is the Winter Solstice, the ancient holiday of Great Yule.  It is the shortest day of the year and the longest night.  It is also the turning point after which the days once more gradually … Continue reading

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INTENTION AND TRANSLATION: BASHŌ’S ONE-COLOR WORLD

Bashō wrote an interesting winter hokku that is often found mistranslated.  It is, in Japanese: 冬  枯  れ  や   世は一色に 風の音 Fuyu-gare ya  yo wa hito iro [isshoku] ni   kaze no oto The mistranslation usually comes in the … Continue reading

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BECOMING ONE WITH EMPTINESS: ROBERT FROST’S DESERT PLACES

Today I would like to discuss a “snow” poem by the noted American poet Robert Frost.  To understand the title, we must not mistake “desert” as meaning a hot, dry, sandy place.  Instead, Frost uses it in its old sense, … Continue reading

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AN EARLY WINTER HOKKU

Winter begins; In the withered fields No bird sings. A friend in the Netherlands sent this photo taken by his wife on her walk through the Holterberg region.  She kindly gave her permission for me to use it.  It really … Continue reading

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