LOVE, INTIMACY, AND A DISTANT ISLAND VILLAGE

Here are some that you can take in an erotic sense, or a romantic one. These are from November 2006:

 

裸愛人
炉火あかし
反映し

 

Hadake aijin
robi akashi
hanei shi

 

Naked lover
reflecting
the red flame of the fire pit.

 

As you may recall from my earlier post—an irori is the fire pit that is in the center of old Japanese farm houses. A Ro is smaller and was just used for heating up water. The Ro is not necessarily a ‘fire pit’ but could be a hibachi-like pot for heating up water with charcoal and what not. It is still used today in tea ceremony. Robi is the flame and refers usually to the ro, but I think it can also imply the irori, but there is also the term ro akari which seems to be more appropriate for the larger irori. Ro is the same character in both terms. Akashi comes from aka—red—so it implies a glowing red. On the other hand, akarui does simply mean to be bright, or in this case, to glow…

 

愛人の胸
炉明かりに
表れる

 

Aijin no mune
Roakari ni
Arawareru

 

Lover’s chest
appears
in the glow of the firepit

 

Arawareru means to appear or to come into view. In this case, the lover could be either sex, depending on who the first person is (i.e. from whose perspective the haiku is subjectively experienced as). But to be more specific, I could say:

 

愛人の乳
炉明かりに
表れる

 

Aijin no chichi
roakari ni
arawareru

 

The lover’s breasts
in the light of the firepit
come into view

 

Chi also means milk, so chichi is very clearly, not a male’s breast. On the other hand, one might complain that this term for a ‘boob’ is a little too, how would I say—Motherly? But the biological goal of sex is motherhood. In any event, chichi could be used sexually as well.

 

冬霞哉
小屋の窓
炉火あかし

 

Fuyugasumi kana
koya no mado
robi akashi

 

Ah. The winter mist!
the window of the small shack
glows red from the ro

 

雪の町
夜の静まりに
寺の鐘

 

Yuki no machi
yo no shizumari ni
tera no kane

 

The snowy village
in the quiet of the night
a temple bell.

 

That last one might be too descriptive for the taste of a Japanese haiku expert. But it floods my senses with memories and feelings—staying in small villages in the Japanese countryside. One example is from a time I went to the small island of Miyajima just outside of Hiroshima. That is famous for the torii gate that stands out in the sea in front of Miyakojima jinja (Miyakojima Shrine)—if I recall the name correctly. This was made famous from a cover of National Geographic years ago. It was around New Years, and small towns have a bad habit of closing up fast. A friend of mine and I were trying to find a restaurant, but the cold streets were empty, and the shops had closed their shutters. As dusk fell we walked the empty streets, still snowy in places. We were hungry, but there was something very calming and special about those streets and the old wooden buildings and houses with their tiled roofs, in between pine trees and shrines. It was a small island and was therefore pretty much a mountain jutting out of the Bay. We knew everyone was inside these wooden dwellings, warm and relaxed—visiting with family (it was New Years after all). I was perfectly content to walk up and down that village in silence, and of course, sooner or later, there was the metallic, ‘gonnnnnnnnnng’ of the temple bell.

Eventually we did find a small convenience store. As night fell and it got dark we cooked some gyoza (dumplings) and a few other things in the kitchen of the hostel we stayed at. We were the only ones there as I recall. After eating, I just had to go back out into the cold and wander the streets some more. That was such a special place…

 

山深し
森にかくるる
冬の月

 

Yama fukashi
mori ni kakururu
fuyu no tsuki

 

deep in the mountain(s)
it tries to hide in the forest
the winter moon

 

That, of course, can be another spiritual one based on the archetypal motif of the moon, as I have written about in a few of my last posts.

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