6 Chang Eugenia

Walking through Back Bay Fens Sunday afternoon

Half-frozen lake—

The ducks navigate

the Emerald Necklace.


Like the buck’s antlers,

we point in slightly different

directions, my friend (Basho, 70)

Basho wrote this poem as he was saying goodbye to an old friend. This poem resonates with me as my time at Tufts creeps to an end. It saddens me to think this is an end to this chapter of my life, and that my friends will be all around the world and far away from me. I find comfort in this poem because our paths are like the buck’s antlers – they point in different directions. This is not sad; it is the way it is. To try and point them in the same direction would break the antler and most likely kill the buck. In the same way, trying to freeze and prolong this moment of our lives would not bring us happiness. “Those who pursue truth will naturally move ahead, never content to keep treading on the same ground. No matter how much haikai may change in the future, if it changes sincerely, it will be the kind of haikai advocated by Basho” (Inouye, 75). I also find solace in these words because my future is a huge cloud of uncertainty. If I have sincere intentions and do not construct a house made of artificial motives, everything will be all right.  The essence of creativity is change, and nature is in a constant state of flux. Basho writes: “Only a barbarian mind could fail to see the flower; only an animal mind could fail to dream a moon. The first task for each artist is to overcome the barbarian or animal heart and mind, to become one with nature” (56). This return to nature is appropriate because it diminishes the “self”. “What is beautiful about cherry blossom and the moon is that they are neither no more nor no less created than anything else, and that their beauty is what teaches us that we, too, are like them. We are both made and makers, alive to our truest nature (as agents of and for change) by virtue of our sameness with all that surrounds” (Inouye, 79).

This entry was posted in Week 6: The Order of Here and Now. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 6 Chang Eugenia

  1. Love the poem that you chose from Basho. It really demonstrates the reality of human divergence in life. And that fact that, as you put it, “it is the way it is”, captures the necessity of accepting such divergence. The change that exists perpetually and unavoidably all around is not something to bemoan, but rather something to accept. Acceptance seems like the only way of dealing with the “sadness” that characterizes our primary reaction to moving away from the people that we enjoy and love. In my mind, our most sincere appreciation of nature stems from this acceptance. We are much more likely to feel and understand the beauty of the world if we accept the divergent nature of interaction, instead of wallowing in the sadness that it incites in us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *