HAIKU: I was walking to Davis along Leonard Street around 12:30pm last Saturday.
The sun shines
whitely through dark
IMAGE: Utsusemi (空蝉)
PARAGRAPH: On Evanescence and Form (pp. 1-26) and “A Past of Things Present” (Kitagawa)
From the first pages of Evanescence and Form, I began to cry uncontrollably. I was unsure of what I was feeling, whether it was a negative or positive emotion; all I knew was that I was overwhelmed with feeling because for the first time in too long, someone was articulating ways of thought and feeling that have confused me my entire life because I never knew the words to express them. In particular, the theme of the tension between seemingly polar concepts – evanescence and form – resonates deeply with me because I always felt confused and torn in two between them: I possessed “a keen awareness [and appreciation] of evanescence” (Inouye, 9) yet though I knew following Japanese formalities were important, I never understood this “resistance to change and a conformity to certain patterns” (Inouye, 9). However, just by reading this little and only going to two classes, I’m already starting to gain a newfound appreciation for form. Like we discussed in class regarding the weekly haikus, creativity is imposing our will and interpretation on the reality around us; however, the rigid simplicity and formality of Japanese poetics allows us to get rid of the intermediaries like description and metaphor and so on, and to fully enjoy reality for what it is. Instead of constraining us, form gives us a place from which to regard and appreciate the indescribable everything that is this reality, from beauty to suffering to memory to emotions and so on.