Posts Tagged ‘ R. H. Blyth ’

First Known When Lost: Mystery

All the long day —
Yet not long enough for the skylark,
Singing, singing.

Bashō (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 195.

Source: First Known When Lost: Mystery

First Known When Lost: Anew

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.

Source: First Known When Lost: Anew

Issa – Simply trust:

 

Simply trust:
Do not also the petals flutter down,
Just like that?

 

Issa (1763 – 1828) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 363.

First Known When Lost

George Reid (1841-1913), “Evening” (1873)

“In old-fashioned novels, we often have the situation of a man or a woman who realizes only at the end of the book, and usually when it is too late, who it was that he or she had loved for many years without knowing it.  So a great many haiku tell us something that we have seen but not seen.  They do not give us a satori, an enlightenment;  they show us that we have had an enlightenment, had it often, — and not recognized it.”

R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 3: Summer-Autumn (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 322.

Although Blyth’s observation relates to haiku in particular, I would suggest that it is applicable to all forms of poetry, in all ages and in all places.

Source: First Known When Lost

First Known When Lost: Basho

A cloud of cherry blossoms:
The bell, — is it Ueno?
Is it Asakusa?

Basho (1644-1694).  Ueno and Asakusa are adjacent districts in Tokyo. Ueno was (and is) well-known for its cherry blossoms.  Both districts have numerous temples (and, hence, bells).

*

I believe that R. H. Blyth’s 4-volume Haiku is still (more than 60 years after its publication) the best study of the cultural, historical, philosophical, and aesthetic background of the art form.  In his preface, Blyth provides this preliminary definition:

“Haiku record what Wordsworth calls those ‘spots of time,’ those moments which for some quite mysterious reason have a peculiar significance. There is a unique quality about the poet’s state of feeling on these occasions; it may be very deep, it may be rather shallow, but there is a ‘something’ about the external things, a ‘something’ about the inner mind which is unmistakable.  Where haiku poets excel all others is in recognizing this ‘something’ in the most unlikely places and at the most unexpected times.
. . . . . . . . . .
Haiku is a kind of satori, or enlightenment, in which ‘we see into the life of things.’  We grasp the inexpressible meaning of some quite ordinary thing or fact hitherto entirely overlooked.”

R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 1: Eastern Culture (Hokuseido Press 1949), page 8.  A side-note: Blyth’s reference to Wordsworth reminds me that his knowledge of English poetry was as wide as his knowledge of haiku.  The four volumes of Haiku are interspersed with references to English poets and poems.  He also wrote an interesting book titled Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics (1942).

Source: First Known When Lost: Basho

First Known When Lost: Life As A Work Of Art, Part Four: “Heroes Of The Sub-Plot”

” . . . be we hero or heroine (in our own minds), somebody like Keats brings us back to earth:  “Call the world if you please ‘The vale of Soul-making’. Then you will find out the use of the world.”  The Chinese T’ang Dynasty poets and the Japanese haiku poets possessed this knowledge (via Taoism and Buddhism) several centuries before Keats.  (Which is not to fault Keats: these messages are timeless, but it seems that we have to discover them for ourselves.)

Journeying through the world, —
To and fro, to and fro,
Harrowing the small field.

Basho (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido 1952).

Source: First Known When Lost: Life As A Work Of Art, Part Four: “Heroes Of The Sub-Plot”

Issa’s Untidy Hut: Gerald Vizenor: favor of crows: New and Collected Haiku

Issas Untidy Hut: Gerald Vizenor: favor of crows: New and Collected Haiku.

Life after Blyth: New Visions for Haiku’s Future Books by Richard Gilbert and Stephen Addiss reviewed by Josh Hockensmith | Oyster Boy Review 21

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Books by Addiss and Gilbert Reviewed by Hockensmith | Oyster Boy Review 21

Issa’s Untidy Hut: R. H. Blyth: Still Complaining – A Friday Idyll

Issa’s Untidy Hut: R. H. Blyth: Still Complaining – A Friday Idyll.

AUTUMN BEGINS: INCLINING TOWARD THE TRANQUILITY OF HOKKU | HOKKU

AUTUMN BEGINS: INCLINING TOWARD THE TRANQUILITY OF HOKKU | HOKKU.