Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cool Announcement: Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master for International Women's Day

Appreciate each moment; that's all there really is. Be simple. Let my haiku teach you how. Openness is all you need to understand my haiku. Just be open to each ringing of the bell, each kiss, each pain, each word, each wind. Follow the fearless path of white light, which covers everything, washes everything clean and white and illuminated like clear water--drink the sweet water!

-- taken from dreams of Chiyo-ni that Patricia Donegan had while working on the translations for Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master.

My Dear Readers:

In celebration of International Women's Day, I am pleased to introduce you to Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master, edited and translated with notes by Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi (Tuttle Publishing, 1998), the first English language book about Chiyo-ni’s life and poetry. This collection of her works includes “not only a representative selection of 100 of her haiku, but the only extant haibun (complete), a substantial section of renku, and, perhaps best of all, a 40-page biography and 20-some pages discussing her art.”
Fukuda Chiyo-ni (Kaga no Chiyo) (福田千代尼; 1703 - 2 October 1775) was a Japanese poet of the Edo period, perhaps Japan's most celebrated female haiku poet. She was a student of Basho's disciples, Shikô and Otsuyu, and worked in an age when haiku was largely a male domain. She started writing haiku at age seven, and by age seventeen, she had become widely popular among haiku readers across Japan. Working for a unity of nature with humanity, her haiku are known for “crystalline clarity and delicate sensuality.” At age fifty-two, Chiyo-ni became a nun and changed her name to Soen (Simple Garden). "Her clear writing style went hand in hand with her Buddhist practice... She saw the world clearly and expressed her words clearly, using the image of water, of her most frequently used images, to reflect nature."

Selected Haiku

green grass --
between, between the blades
the color of the water

a single spider's thread
ties the duckweed
to the shore

low-tide beach
everything one stoops to touch
moves in the fingers

a butterfly
in front and back
of the woman's path

woman's desire
deeply rooted --
the wild violets

on her day off
the prostitute wakes up alone
the night's chill

at the crescent moon
the silence
enters the heart

the moon's shadow
also pauses --
cherry blossom dawn

a hundred gourds
from the heart
of one vine

from time to time
the cloud loses track
of the skylark

lies within the listener --
a cuckoo’s call

rouged lips
forgotten --
clear spring water

over the flowing water
chasing its shadow --
the dragonfly

back streets' snoring
and today's full moon
bright, bright

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