Fukushima in the Fall

Fall in Fukoshima

Evita recently visited Fukoshima and sent me this lovely photo.  She compared it to an oil painting and I agree with her–the colors have the deep vibrancy I tend to associate with early 18th century European oil landscapes.  I also like how it shows a rural, more agrarian Japan–not a common postcard subject although, looking at a photo like this one, it should be!  Evita’s comment inspired us to spend an hour looking at oil paintings online.  The V&A museum, for one, offers an amazing look at their collections to anyone with an internet connection!  When we were finished, we sat down and I read haiku poems to the girls.

Matsuo Basho, a 17th century Japanese poet, is famous for his haiku.  Haiku, as we learned about it at school, is a Japanese form of poetry based around a 5-7-5 syllable format.  The first verse contains five syllables, the second seven and the third and final verse five again.  I can remember trying to write them for a school assignment and spending almost as much time counting syllables as thinking about what I was trying to write!  (Wikipedia offers a far more detailed look at haiku.)  In seeking to retain the original poems’ essential style and meaning, the Basho translations below do not all fit the 5-7-5 format described above but I felt like they could easily be enjoyed while looking at Evita’s photo.

I didn’t die!
the end of a journey
is autumn nightfall

autumn nears
my heart is drawn
to a four-mat room

autumn night
striking and making it crumble
our small talk

What poets inspire you?  I’ve been reading Paul Elouard and Robert Frost lately–light years away from one another in style but both accessible to anyone with a love for language.

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