Posts Tagged ‘ dragonfly ’

First Known When Lost: Gifts

“October 6, 1940.  Late in the season as it is, a dragonfly has appeared and is flying around me.  Keep on flying as long as you can  — your flying days will soon be over.”

Taneda Santōka (1882-1940) (translated by Burton Watson), in Burton Watson, For All My Walking:  Free-Verse Haiku of Taneda Santōka with Excerpts from His Diaries (Columbia University Press 2003), page 102.

The passage is lovely in itself, but it moves into a deeper dimension when one considers the life of Taneda Santōka.  When he was eleven years old, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in a well.  Santōka watched as her body was pulled from the well.  He attended Waseda University in Tokyo for a year, but was forced to leave due to a drinking problem, which persisted throughout his life. He married, but the marriage ended in divorce.  He entered into a business venture (a sake brewery) with his father, but the business failed.  After he unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide by standing in front of a train, he was taken in by the head priest of a Zen Buddhist temple.  At the age of 43, he was ordained as a Zen priest.

After serving briefly as the caretaker of a temple, he became a mendicant monk, spending much of the remainder of his life on constant walking journeys throughout Japan, in all seasons — walking and walking, forever walking.  He survived by begging and by sleeping in cheap inns or, often, out in the open air.  But he maintained a loyal group of friends who came to his aid when times were most difficult.  And, through it all, he wrote haiku — lovely and moving haiku.  He died in his sleep at the age of 58.

Burton Watson appends the following note to the passage by Santōka quoted above:  “This is the last entry in Santōka’s diary, written four days before his death.”

*  *  *  *  *  *

As midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve in Japan, the bells in Buddhist temples are sounded 108 times:  once for each of the sins and desires that we should seek to rid ourselves of.  At this time each year I am reminded of a haiku:

I intended
Never to grow old, —
But the temple bell sounds.

Jokun (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 202.

So it is in this dragonfly World of ours, a World in which each year, each moment, is a gift.

Source: First Known When Lost: Gifts

 

late winter –

the dragonfly world

of a snowflake

 

– Donna Fleischer
from Under the Bashō

 

Sabine Miller, Photo Collage with Haiku by Donna Fleischer

photo-1Sabine Miller, Untitled Photo Collage 2014

This libelulla saturata rested on my arm long enough to be a sundial. Tuckered out from its adventure in the big white skylight. Mid summer-

– Sabine Miller, 2014

 

The edited journal, Under the Basho, honored Donna Fleischer’s haiku “late winter –” with First Prize in its 2014 Under the Basho International Haiku  Contest, that brought with it a $500 cash award and a print broadside.

Under the Basho 2014 Haiku Contest Results

 

 

late winter –

the dragonfly world

of a snowflake

 

 

1st Place: $500

Contestant #307 – Donna Fleischer

Entry 307.1

http://underthebasho.com/haiku-contest.html

in a wrinkle

of light

dragonfly!

Donna Fleischer

in a wrinkle

of light

dragonfly!

~ Donna Fleischer