6 Luna-Smith Wesley

I was combating the wind while rushing to work.


Trees bend,

With the constant wind.

I must push forward.


Basho’s poetry breaks away from pre-modern form in two ways. His haikus do not adhere to the lexicon established in Japanese poetry, and he acknowledges the self in his interpretation of the here-and-now (Inouye 75). In this haiku, “How awe-inspiring/ On the green leaves, the young leaves/ The light of the sun.” (Basho 27), Basho shares what sounds like personal feelings of awe, but rather than detracting from the poem’s essence, the reader is able to recognize awe as an intrinsic part of the sunlight on Nikko mountain. Basho’s interpretation of here-and-now is, “both passive and active in its appreciation of the permanence of sensibility that emerged by way of radical change and an equally radical sense of order” (Inouye 79), because he is able to describe the tangible environment around him in such a way that it seems to transcend the evanescent world. When this radical sense of order is used effectively, it allows a poet to perfectly capture a place as he is experiencing it. When Basho describes the completeness of a poem, “In this poem Saigyo said everything that could be said about the various sights. If one attempted to add a single word, it would be as futile as putting an extra finger on a man’s hand” (Basho 159), one can recognize the depth of meaning in a well-crafted haiku.

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