6 Schwartz Ezra

I was walking to Gancher when I saw Canadian geese flying in formation.poem 6journal 6


In this weeks readings a distinction was made between sorrow and loneliness. Although it is true that loneliness may lead to sorrow, the opposite is not true, thereby creating a separation between the two emotions. As such, in two poems Bashō writes of loneliness as something in itself; analysis of the aforementioned poems can highlight Bashō’s modern Japanese mentality. The first poem goes as follows, “Loneliness– / Standing amid the blossoms, / A cypress tree” (Inouye, p. 77).  As discussed in Evanescence and Form, Makoto Ueda believes the lack of harmony between the lone cypress tree amid the many cherry trees to be the source of loneliness (Inouye, p. 77); a completely natural representation of loneliness apriori to human emotion. Hence, the poem above is a completely selfless one; the loneliness stems from the alienation of the cypress tree but nothing else.  This emotional distance is not present in the second poem, however. The latter poem reads, “How lonely it is! / Even lonelier than Suma, / Autumn at this beach” (Bashō, p, 171). In the written lines, there is no evidence of lack of harmony. Nothing natural is out of place, except for perhaps Bashō. Entertaining this idea, Bashō’s sense of loneliness is one derived purely from emotion. He is visiting a beach in autumn, a time when the sun sets sooner, and the temperature gets cooler. As such, it may the juxtaposition between the vibrancy of a beach in the summer, versus the matte nature of a beach in the fall, which stirs the loneliness experienced by Bashō.  Interestingly, the loneliness described in the first poem was completely self-less, while the second poem required self-awareness in order to experience the loneliness of that beach. It is this combination of a self-concern/awareness and selflessness that describes Bashō.


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One Response to 6 Schwartz Ezra

  1. Profile photo of Karen  Chan Karen Chan says:

    Interesting two poems you chose to compare. They perfectly show how Basho is at the crossroad between lyricism and realism.

    And yay to seeing Canadian geese =)

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