Artwork by Nanae Ito
This is the third post on the diminutive little Hallmark haiku collection Silent Flowers. I revisited this book last month, taking a look at 6 poems that I hadn't talked in my first post back in 2010. Here are 4 more excellent poems from Silent Flowers, translated by R. H. Blyth and astutely selected by Dorothy Price, that haven't appeared in either post.
The first three all appear within a page of each other, and seem to focus on a single image, the smaller the better:
Holds down the leaf,
For a moment.
Here is a fine example of the exception to the rule, the rule being: show, never tell. Well, perhaps the reason it works is that it does a bit of both.
You can see the morning breeze
Blowing the hairs
Of the caterpillar.
I would say with the layout we can feel the morning breeze though we can't see it, particularly in the fine opening line (which, of course, breaks yet another rule).
Do not trample to pieces
The pearls of bright dew.
The observation in the later two poems is so finely delineated as to be absolutely marvelous. Each does what a ku should do - captures a perfect little moment; yet in this case all three share another quality. These are not pictures painted, or photos snapped: they are all moments in motion, the movement acutely emphasizing the fleeting quality of a moment, yet capturing it in that movement.
Magicians at work.
A few more pages along comes a 4th ku, and this one captures not just the body and mind, but the soul:
Yield to the willow
All the loathing, all the desire
Of your heart
I yi yi yi! We are yielding to the willow, we are yielding to desire, we are yeilding to loathing, we are yielding to our heart ...
Let us yield to Bashō.
At this rate, I have a feeling there will be a 4th post on Silent Flowers.
the village child
clutching the willow
translated by David G. Lanoue
And, of course, yield to the raven.
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