Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Room of My Own: A Man Who Read Basho

he dies
under the staircase
an old dog

He often came to the library shortly before it opened and wouldn’t leave until the chief librarian kicked him out. He spent most of his time leafing through old encyclopedias and vintage copies of The Paris Review. He wasn’t much of a talker, but occasionally he did the monologuous talk-to-the-audience speech on what he had read or thought about.

The week before he died, he stopped me on the way out and surprised me by saying, “I've enjoyed reading some of your haiku and quotation tweets. My favorite is ‘to write haiku is to create an imaginary pond with real frogs in it.’” He then slipped a piece of crumpled paper into my hand and left.

lotus pond ...
all that remains
of  frog song


  1. The favorite quote in the haibun is a dual allusion both to one of the most famous lines from Marianne Moore's "Poetry," "imaginary gardens with real toads in them," and to Basho's famous frog haiku.

  2. A well-crafted and very emotive haibun, Chen-ou. The title is also great! :)


  3. Marion:

    Many thanks for your encouraging comment.