Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Haiku

Simple trust:
Do not the petals flutter down,
Just like that?
- Basho


My daughters, especially Daughter #3, object to English translations of haiku. They hold that a haiku can't really be translated. True, perhaps. But the English translations hold so many memories for me.

I still have the Hallmark edition of "Silent Flowers: A New Collection of Japanese Haiku Poems" given to me by my 8th grade teacher inscribed

October 1968
Laurie,
May you continue to find a joy in writing. Creativity is a gift to be developed.
Mrs. Gleason
I treasured that little book all the way through college and when speech failed me I used those little poems to express my feelings.

After it was dark,
I began to want to change
The way I grafted it.
- Issa

Even now this so accurately describes the way I often feel about my words.

2 comments:

Anne Trepanier said...

I simply HAD to make a comment:remembering the little book as well, and how sometimes I would 'steal' a poem from it to make a card, just as my older and wiser roommate did. Greg still has a haiku (in English, of course) that I wrote for him, lo, these many years...It's getting warmer here as well-spring cleaning today while Greg is at Men's breakfast at the church, and Mike is working.

Laurie Elliot said...

I think I made more cards than I wrote papers - I was such a "bad" student!

I learned a lot though. Thanks, Anne.