Arco, the town I where I live in Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy was once, and not so long ago, an Austrian health station. The micro-climate, created by Lake Garda has made the area’s climate particularly mild and the “Ora” the daily wind that comes up off the lake in the summer clears away humidity and eventual pollutants.
Magnolia Lane runs between the back of the old Casino and the most important Sanatorium of the age (now converted into administrative buildings) leads to the centre of town and the central city park. In spring when the magnolias bloom not only is it beautiful to walk down, with their large white flowers but the delicate perfume that fills the air is something close to divine.
in magnolia lane
the blossoms catch the rain
as blackbirds sing
© G.s.k. ‘16
(My haibun was written to honour Soseki Natsume, celebrated by Carpe Diem Haiku Kai yesterday.)
he sky I see
seems full of
© Soseki Natsume
“Sōseki Natsume (February 9, 1867-December 9, 1916) was born Natsume Kinnosuke. He is widely known as the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji period. He was a scholar of British literature and a composer of haiku, Chinese-style poetry, and fairy tales. From 1984 to 2004, his portrait was featured on the Japanese 1000 yen note.
Natsume Kinnosuke was born in Babashita in the Edo region. He was adopted by a childless couple, but after their divorce, he was returned to his biological mother at age 9. However, his mother died only five years later.
While attending First Tokyo Middle School, he was enamored with Chinese literature. He went on to study architecture at Tokyo Imperial University.
In 1887, he met Masaoka Shiki who encouraged him to become a writer. From that point on, he chose the pen name Sōseki which means “stubborn” in Chinese. In 1893, he became a part-time teacher at the Tokyo Normal School while he studied as a graduate student.
Natsume began teaching at Matsuyama Middle School in 1895. During this time, he began publishing his haiku and Chinese poetry.
In 1900, he became the first Japanese English literary scholar and lived in poverty, loneliness, and mental problems while attempting to solidify his knowledge of English literature at the University College, London. After his return to Japan, he became a professor of English literature at Tokyo Imperial University.
He died of a stomach ulcer in 1916″