Here & Now

Nothing that stood out this week.

It seems odd that during the one week we really focused on lyrical poetry I did not experience any particular moments that struck me, at least enough to inspire poetic reflection later.  It makes me wonder about Basho’s journey, and I sense that there is some sort of tension between the lyrical, in-the-moment sentiments that his poetry invokes and the fact that he didn’t actually write in the moment.  A poetic journey is an interesting concept, and though Basho did not travel purely to find lyrical inspiration, seeking out lyricism seems very counterintuitive.  What separates an overall appreciation of the world from a lyrical moment?  Does it count if you go out looking for it?  Maybe the most important part of experiencing the here-and-now is being receptive, and Basho’s journey wasn’t so much of a search rather than an extended period of receptiveness and sensitivity to the various spaces through which he moved.  This tension of a “self that is trying not to be a self, poised at the dawn of modernity” gives his simple poetry a heightened sense of importance, encapsulating the relationship between evanescence and form that has permeated every topic we’ve talked about so far (Inouye 78).  One of my favorite poems was the longer one about a sacred mountain, which I thought was a very effective example of conveying the importance of the experience the poet had without actually detailing that experience:

I cannot speak of

Yudono, but see how wet

My sleeve is with my tears. (Basho 115)

I found this poem really beautiful (extra beautiful because “tears” elude to sorrow) because it points to the poignancy of something that Basho saw without even really describing it. This captures the essence of having a relationship with the here-and-now and “new poetic associations with space”(Inouye 76).  Even though he did write it after the fact, there is a strong sense of being present in the moment rather than observing the world from a distanced point of view.


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