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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Buson: Winter Rain


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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Rain_ot_ocean_beach.jpg

Distant rain, Ocean Beach, San Francisco: photo by Mila Zinkova, January 2006





The evenings of the ancients
Were like mine,
This evening of cold rain.




File:Rain in Kolkata.jpg

Rain falling on the streets of Kolkata: photo by Monster eagle, 2007





The winter rain
Shows what is before our eyes
As though it were long ago.






http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/jpd/00100/00169v.jpg

Evening rain at Azuma Shrine
: Andō Hiroshige, from the series
Eight views in the environs of Edo, between 1827-1840 (Japanese prints and drawings, Library of Congress)


This post dedicated to Don Wentworth

The evenings of the ancients / The winter rain
: Yosa Buson (1716-1783), translated by Reginald Horace Blyth

22 comments:

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Tom,

Thanks very much for this lovely post. The photos and Hiroshige depiction remind me of the many years I spent in a bungalow at sea level (and, occasionally, below), when winter seemed but one long season of driving rain.

As always, the Blyth renditions are revelatory - how both haiku by Buson conjure up the past as if through the the veil of memory, yet firmly in the moment.

Don

TC said...

"...conjure up the past as if through the the veil of memory, yet firmly in the moment."

Yes, exactly. One wonders what is the secret to this trick. (Perhaps it takes more than one lifetime to discover?)

curtisroberts said...

Don says it just so well. Thanks so much both of you, Blyth and, of course, Buson.

Julia said...

The winter rain
Shows what is before our eyes
As though it were long ago.


I love this, is so true. Thank you very much.

Cuando nos concentramos en la lluvia fría que no cesa, es como si nos diluyéramos con el agua que cae.
Aunque hace tanto que no hago eso de concentrarme en la lluvia. Siempre tenemos tanto en qué distraernos. Una pena.

aditya said...

When I was a child I never knew
an umbrella. Then the two men in Kolkata getting wet not for the fun part of it. Last night rains though very feeble were recorded in here too.

The cold rain
making an eye brow
on/of the faint road.

ps- Another post looking in to the rear view mirror for what has gone by? Get 'em wipers on your windshield also working Tom!

aditya said...

Also, the photograph from India made my smile wide instantly!

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Very beautiful ("especially prized") -- to move through horizontal view looking toward Marin toward Ocean Beach, to looking down at cars and man running through rain on Kolkata street, to figures turning umbrellas to the rain in Hiroshige's view "in the environs of Edo" (linked/'translated' by Blyth's translations of Buson's poems, which as Don says "conjure up the past as if through the veil of memory, yet firmly in the moment". . . .


1.31

pink clouds in pale blue sky above still
black trees, golden-crowned sparrow’s oh
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

form from which it suggests
object, which is flat

which its lower edge, space
almost, still implied

grey-white clouds against top of ridge,
wingspan of gull flapping toward point

TC said...

The ghost of Buson bows, shows the wrinkle of a smile, and says Gracias, Julia.

En la lluvia fría
que nunca se detiene, la auto-pérdida, disolución
en las gotas que caen.

(In the cold rain
that never stops, self-loss; dissolution
in the falling drops.)

Then turns, bows -- again the hint of a smile -- and says, Aditya, you cause me to think that poetry may have a future after all!

The cold rain
making an eye brow
on/of the faint road.

And now, nodding serenely, with a colleaguial glance toward Stephen:

pink clouds in pale blue sky above still
black trees, golden-crowned sparrow’s oh

___

About "The winter rain/Shows what is before our eyes,/As though it were long ago," Blyth comments:

"We expect this verse to run, 'The winter rain shows us the past, before our very eyes'. By a kind of trick of words Buson has blurred the present and the past, the looker and what is looked at. He has done here rather artificially what it is the aim of all poetry to do, to confuse while keeping distinct, to enable us to lose ourselves in mutual interpenetration and yet preserve the identity and uniqueness of the thing itself."

Curtis, so happy you're liking Buson -- and Blyth, whose work in bringing this poetic tradition to English is so precious. Only Arthur Waley and Ezra Pound (in very different ways) did so much to help us understand the poetry of the East.

And by the way, Steve, the Ocean Beach shot was selected with you in mind, as the shot of Kolkata in rain was picked to honour the elusive spirit of Aditya.

Ed Baker said...

everything is very .... precise ...
and in the
'right now

here is a link to n observation that Yosa Buson made in
passing


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/10/arts/10shattuck.html


I "used" it as (sort-of-) a preface to a little run...


thanks Tee See

Hiroshige (and the others) had SOME (essential) palette!

Ed Baker said...

OPPPPPSSS
wrong thing got pasted!


http://edbaker.maikosoft.com/shrike/5.html

!

aditya said...

Many thanks Tom. Right now it feels like home. Listen to this alone and very quiet tonight and let it frisk you for your worries.

curtisroberts said...

I just wanted to say that I keep coming back and back again to Winter Rain, the poems and the pictures. While enlarging understanding, they all also sort of fit like a glove. On the US east coast, it seems like a very long time since we've been dry and warm.

aditya said...

Blogger ate my comment. Many thanks Tom.

curtisroberts said...

Blogger (I have experienced and friends have reported) has been unusually hungry lately.

Julia said...

Thank you, Tom. You made something beautiful with my babbling.

I agree with curtis, this is a post to visit once and again, repeatedly like rain drops.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Yes, revisiting "The Winter Rain" again (in the fog here, again), that "view" from (not "toward" as I mis-wrote yesterday) recognized before I saw the words that identified it (thank you), Blyth's phrasing ("Shows what is before our eyes/ As though it were long ago") does, as you say, "confuse while keeping distinct . . . enable us to lose ourselves in mutual interpenetration and yet preserve the identity and uniqueness of the thing itself" (so what we think we're reading isn't quite it, is something else). . . .

2.1

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, shadowed green of leaf on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

reed pen on paper inscribed
in another hand, part

thinking something else, as
present, having “view”

grey-white fog against invisible ridge,
whiteness of gull standing on sandspit

aditya said...

Curtis,

It sure is blurry in here at the Blogger. Some times its like magic.
Anything disappears. Then as Julia says, like a rain drops, each thing returns.

TC said...

Dear Aditya, Let me apologize for the bad table manners of Blogger. (Blame this on its upbringing, perhaps?)

The calm and serenity of
no such thing as monsters was, apparently, too much for Blogger to digest.

(There seem to be days and nights when Blogger's rampant appetite knows no bounds, and there is nothing it likes better at such times than a tasty link.)


Steve,

Beautiful tandem work to, and gloss upon, the Buson: "what we think we're reading isn't quite it, is something else. . . ."

2.1

reed pen on paper inscribed
in another hand, part

thinking something else, as
present, having “view”


It was a joy, after a few days' and nights' hiatus (medical appointments, part of the ongoing campaign... not so much to shake a leg, anymore, but to save one), to find all these sweet comments.

The openness of the Buson poems and their theme has it seems invited and inspired the words of everyone; and these words, in turn, will forever extend the resonance of the poems for me:

"essential palette" (Ed)

"fit like a glove" (Curtis)

"once and again, repeatedly like rain drops" (Julia)

sandra said...

beautiful!

TC said...

Many thanks Sandra, always lovely to hear from you.

Robb said...

Stirring, something to come back to again and again and ...

"bacin"

Marie W said...

So beautiful, so true, so inspiring. I almost wish the rain would never stop.