SNOW AND THE LAMENT OF AN ABANDONED HUSBAND

Denver got hit with another snow—I enjoyed it. It started last night and snowed all night, there was heavy wind making it a blizzard—but perhaps not as bad as they expected. It snowed off and on all day today too, but the streets were clear fairly early in the day—-a spring snow so temperatures were not as cold as if it would have happened a month or two ago. But for that, here are some more winter haiku:

 

入り船まち也

遠島の

雪の月

 

irifune machi ya

toujima no

yuki no tsuki

 

Waiting for the boats to return!

the moon and snow

on a distant island.

 

Japan has numerous fishing villages all up and down its coast. The term 入り船まち (irifunemachi), means to wait for the boat or boats to return. But there is the usual wait for family and friends, when they expect boats to return in the late afternoon or the evening. And then there is the real wait—when a boat or group of boats are late in returning to port.

January 1st, 2010, I composed another fishing village haiku. I have mentioned several times that at the beginning of the year—the first time you do something is very special. A fishing boat in a fishing village, is not only a source of livelihood, it is is also dependent upon to protect your loved ones while they are using it to earn that livelihood—so the first time of the year that you go on a fishing boat, is not only special—they make a ceremony out of it with the village—to pray for good luck and a prosperous and safe year. This ceremony is called 乗り初め (norihajime), or First Boarding—-and you do not just come (kuru) to the boat, you ceremoniously-come (Mairu) just as you would to a shrine:

 

波と風も

お参り

乗り初め哉

 

nami to kaze mo

o-mairi

norihajime kana

 

the waves and the wind too

ceremoniously come

the first boarding!

 

Speaking of New Years, and doing things for the first time—-today I rewrote an old haiku that was a bit sloppy—-thinking it over I felt it was better expressed through a tanka. I was thinking of so many poor souls in Japan—–there are many of them—–often they are products of broken relationships, who go on quietly, doing their jobs, living their mundane lives—broken down loners in a very group-focused culture:

 

妻の捨て櫛

と着物に

忘れられた鍵

淋しき

初湯の音也

 

tsuma no sutekushi

to kimono ni

wasurerareta kagi

sabishiki

hatsuyu no oto ya

 

the wife’s discarded comb

and in a kimono

a forgotten key

how lonely

the sound of years first boiling water!

 

Is everyone depressed enough now? Here is one to bring you back up to an aesthetic reality from november 2008:

 

山道也

露霜は

月にちらちら

 

yamamichi ya

tsuyujimo wa

tsuki ni chirachira

 

the mountain path!

frozen dew

sparkling from the moon

 

There’s that moon again—I have written numerous times about the philosophical significance of the moon. For example, you may go back to HOME ALONE ON A WINDY NIGHT WITH A CHINESE LUTE if you forget it—-or not, and just enjoy it at an aesthetic level.

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