In the sink, broken glass
We each pick up the pieces
No one cuts a finger
Today I read poet Jane Hirshfield’s The Heart of Haiku. In this wonderful essay, Hirshfield explains some of Basho’s life story, traces the history of haiku, and then offers translations and interpretations of some of Basho’s poignant and deeply mindful verse. A practicing Buddhist, Jane Hirshfield has insight that allows her to shed light on Basho’s poetry for those who are unfamiliar with Japanese culture and Eastern philosophy.
Another short article well worth the time is Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s “More than the Birds, Bees, and Trees: A Closer Look at Writing Haibun.” She emphasizes the importance of cultivating aware, “the quality of certain objects to evoke longing, sadness, or immediate sympathy.”
Jane Hirshfield also mentions this important aspect of haiku and how it was Basho who encouraged his students “to feel sabi.” She goes on to explain that “to feel sabi is to feel keenly one’s own sharp and particular existence amid its own impermanence.”
Daily mindfulness writing and writing small stones are a beautiful way to feel sabi and to cultivate aware in poetry and in life.