This light and bright book, ‘Japan Haiku by Marti’, is a library to me that has a collection of thoughts, wise words of a wise heart.
Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry that is dated back to the 17th century, is a fruit that a poet bears in her mind. It tastes subtly sweet and brazenly true. (Truth tastes different to all people, what does truth taste like to you?)
Carrying oceans and mountains and all the seasons within, it takes me on a journey every time I visit it.
Shying away from nothing, neither life nor death, haikus sing about nature and dance in the present. They capture it fully, through the lives of those who craft it, the haikus capture the moment fully.
No less than an explorer or a monk who practices meditation, the haiku poets in ancient Japan travelled to witness the peaceful, dramatic, kind, unforgiving nature. They did not hurry and that is why could understand it all.
Fetching cold water from a deep quiet well, with wit and brevity, the haikus quench our thirsts in this manner.
I finished reading this delightful book (part of my Auroville collection) sometime back, but I knew the journey has not ended yet.
Earlier I had taken a haiku turn to meet Matsuo Basho, the master haiku poet, and today I found a hidden haiku trail that took me to visit Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali polymath.
“They reveal the control over the human emotions. However, they are never short on aesthetic sensibility. Their sense of aesthetics is marked by deep appreciation yet there is a mastery over expression.” – In Letters from Japan, published later as JapanJatri, Tagore recorded his views on haikus and his experiences of visiting Japan.
Interested in reading Japanese literature, knowing their culture and art history, Tagore in 1915 wrote to Kimura Nikki, who had studied Bengali under him at Calcutta University, “I want to know Japan in the outward manifestation of its modern life and in the spirit of its traditional past. I also want to follow up on the traces of ancient India in your civilization and have some idea of your literature if possible.”
Knockings at My Heart is a collection of short poems by Tagore (discovered only recently and published in 2016) that highlights the impact of haikus on him.
Let my life accept the risk of its
Sails and not merely the security
Of its anchor.
The pomegranate bud hidden behind her veil
Will burst into passionate flower
When I am away.
The mist tries
To capture the morning
In a foolish persistence.
The simplistic approach, depth of thought and brisk climactic acuity make this poetry form of the past very much of the present as well as of the future, for the passionate are always searching.
And so my journey continues.
Fireflies, an epigrammatic poem by Rabindranath Tagore, is a perfect complement to this post.
Sitting by the window and watching the wind do its customary dance, Kent wrote a line in his diary and stopped. The line said, ‘I failed again.’ Dry leaves and twigs joined the wind hesitatingly…a bit shy but tending. Kent took a sip of his hot coffee. He flailed the pen in his hand and then began to write-
Again. I try and then I fail. I wonder how I have reached so far when all I can do is to fail. I sink low every time and it becomes difficult to make a comeback. The sympathy, the taking my side, the hiding my faults…I hate when people do this to me. It hurts me more. But I am the reason of the burden I am carrying.
After another sip, Kent again checked the rendition. He couldn’t hear it clearly but was sure about the charming song that the wind played. Huge trees rhymed along, they were so great yet so modest; nature knows some marvellous secrets that make it awe-inspiring.
I have nothing to say anymore. I wish I could visit Mrs Graceland’s house, the backyard and the trail that led to the jungle and the brook with leaves and twigs wafting in it. If only I could sit there for some time alone. My heart would pour itself in the brook and I am positive that I could then breathe without feeling the knots. The jungle, the brook they don’t know that I have failed. They will not demand any answers nor will they console me. I will be with them and they’ll welcome me.
But with time things start eluding and you feel silent, empty and helpless; a mere bystander.
Kent’s sigh sounded heavy and blue. He searched for something in his room and finding it his eyes rested upon it; a wall clock that made him conscious and humble. He lost himself for some time. Coming back he looked at his diary and wrote-
I think I have failed in putting my thoughts in words. I am sorry dear diary. I think I should just stop writing and….
At this moment he found a leaf knocking on his window. He stared for few minutes waiting for it to fly away but it didn’t. He stretched his hand reluctantly and opened the window. Taking the leaf in his hand Kent watched the scene and without waiting for his permission the wind touched his face and made his hair dance. A smile came on his face naturally. The power of the wind amazed him, the music enthralled him; he could feel the spirit, the liveliness that was abundant in nature. Peeking through his window Kent stood for long in that position unaware of the clock, the pen, the diary, the leaf and himself.
It was getting dark. He forced himself to shut the window. With nature you don’t know when the time passes and if you happen to know you wish it to go slow. Sitting back on his chair and before he could finish his diary entry, he examined the leaf in his hand. It was green. It was autumn. It was a message. Life loves to live. Who loves life lives…happily.
Kent finished his diary entry.
I can’t believe myself but I am going to try again, maybe I’ll fail again. It doesn’t matter. I’ll never stop walking because I never know what is there for me on the next turn. I am going to die one day, I don’t want to die before that day.
Have you ever heard the music of a vivacious stream, the rustling of the leaves? Have you seen the glorious colour of the sky when the sun sets, the diamonds twinkling in the sky? The peace we get when we feel a sapling in our hand cannot be compared with any other feeling. It is blissful to be in nature, only because we all are children of Mother Nature. There must be no one who hasn’t seen the movie Avatar. The beautiful world of Pandora is not much different from Earth. We all are connected. There is only one soul, the soul of Earth which runs within us. We take it from her and we’ll return it to her one day.
But what are we doing with our planet? We are blindly ruining it, believing in the veil of technology and science to be the only truth. The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to Earth. As soon as we realize it we can make a difference. Everyone is aware about how to bring a change, a small step to plant a tree is what is to be followed by all. But more than this we require showing respect to the Earth.
Earth is quiet but not dead. It is not a polythene bag which will hold our crap. We should learn to understand nature, before there is no such opportunity left.
Nature paints for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty, if only we have ‘the eyes’ to see it. We all are a part of nature. Let us try to recognize this relationship, let us show respect and care. Let us not forget that the secret of nature is patience but this doesn’t make it helpless.
She is sitting in the sun. Winter times…and you love the golden warmth. Birds are dancing all around, from one tree to another. Fallen dry leaves somehow create music, to which her attention is caught. She enjoys the nature. A bird flies near her and sits. She tells her about the music, the colour, the magic, the wind, the shine, the fragrance, all about the nature. Bird smiles to sing her the endless saga of nature. ” Rich green leaves Happy fresh air Sounds you hear Pure magic so near… …It’s earth my dear.” Girl lost in these words open her eyes to see the bird fly away. Happiness enters her, she feels the earth. She laughs and laughs. Her head enters a whirlpool. She lies down and touches the sky. She started crying and fell asleep. She had a dream. She saw a golden light turning red and then golden again. She saw purity, smoothness. She saw a feeling dancing madly. She saw innocence. She felt water all around. She saw a hand and she woke up.
Home Chimes is now Chiming Stories
Welcome dear readers!
A roguish year, 2020, I believe was a twist in our LIVE story. Terrible, oh, terrible things happened. Let us nurture hope, let us learn from our mistakes, let us help each other and contribute honestly to this change.
Let the old charm of stories work, let stories heal your tired heart.
This colossal twist proves that the great writer is planning to finish a chapter, but the story is far from over. Dawn is about to break, the sun rays will fall on a new beginning soon.
Come to Chiming Stories, pocket old and new posts and watch, along with me, the horizon.
Yes fly! For walking on the second track is dull and usual, but dreaming high, high, high requires tools. Tools like the right pair of shoes, a chirpy, gritty soul that eats butter-jam dreams, a soul that drinks milky-milky creams.