Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Room of My Own: Cold Moon Haiku

English Original

the cold moon...
I bend
his pointing finger

Romanian Translation by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu

luna rece...
îi cuprind

anthologized in Sharpening The Green Pencil 2012


  1. My haiku alludes to the following Chinese (please not Japanese) story, which has been constantly misread/quoted by Western haiku poets:

    "The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, "I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra for many years, yet there are many areas i do not quite understand. Please enlighten me."

    The patriach responded, "I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning."

    Said the nun, "You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?"

    "Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?"

    The Meaning of the Finger Pointing to the Moon written by Myrko Thum in Spirituality,

  2. Chen-ou,
    Thanks for the correction and the marvelous story. I knew the finger pointing story did not come from Basho, but its exact origin had remained a mystery. Your scholarship is so welcomed! More power to you! \o/ Jane

  3. Jane:

    Many thanks for your encouraging comment.