Basho’s “plowing a field” – July 10, 2015

cherry blossom and moon

From Chocobrownora (Tumblr – March 6, 2014) – Cherry Blossom and Moon

hatake utsu oto ya arashi no sakura asa

plowing a field
the sound of a violent storm
morning blossoms

(c) Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

With this haiku came a preface, as was very common use:

‘On March 11, at the shrine of Shirahige in Araki village’. Usually in tamka the words ‘arashi’ (a violent storm) and ‘sakura’ (cherry blossoms) are combined in the fear that the blossoms will be blown down in a storm. So the ‘wit’ here is to combine these words with another (much more common) meaning.

(The Japanese have been famous for their erotic metaphors … clouds and rain for example was sometimes used to describe sexual release … in the “floating world” or the “willow world” many was the time that one could read about the “flowers” (plum flowers – cherry blossoms) as erotic symbols for young women etc. and even colours (pink for example) have a sexual under-tone.  In the above haiku “plowing a field” is not only a common metaphor in Japanese for sexual intercourse but we use it in our western culture as well. Taking this into mind and the preface that accompanied it … I think Basho is speaking about a particular type of “violent storm” ;-). )

summer evening
bowing at her golden temple
before entering

rain and clouds
fall upon the golden rod
flooded field

in summer rain
shaking the plum blossom –
her flowing river

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for:

On The Trail With Basho Encore #8 plowing a field

12 thoughts on “Basho’s “plowing a field” – July 10, 2015

    • Oh yes … I enjoyed writing these very much. Though the Japanese, in the past as well as the present often write explicit erotica, I personally enjoy writing subtle allusive verse kind of playing with the reader … is it erotica – or isn’t it ? 😉


    • Thanks Jen … I’m not really good at writing erotica in the usual sense of the word … I tend to prefer using the subtle allusiveness of saying but not saying … I like the aesthetic elegance of some of the Japanese haiku and tanka writers who were real masters of the art.

      Liked by 1 person

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