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Monday, 24 January 2011

Buson: Plovers


File:Charadrius mongolus P4233532.jpg

Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Yunlin County, Taiwan: photo by Alnus, 2008

The plovers of the shore
Played about,
Wetting their feet.

File:Charadrius mongolus P4233525.jpg

Lesser Sand Plovers (Charadrius mongolus), Yunlin County, Taiwan: photo by Alnus, 2008

The plovers of the shore: Yosa Buson (1716-1783), translated by Reginald Horace Blyth


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Beautiful pictures, all three ... Buson, such a painterly poet.


TC said...

I love the delicacy of Blyth's version, Don, the way the consonants slow things down and give the poem that long-legged-bird-walking feeling, everything keying in on the verb "played".

(Sure, they're pecking-about to dig up this or that bug or grub, which is certainly practical enough, but beyond that, the poet recognizes that they seem at the same time to be making the work of food-getting disappear into the natural pleasure of it.)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

The delicacy of Blyth's version perfectly captures it ...

As you describe, really photo-like. Sketching the naturalness of the movement and the essence of plover. To feel that movement in words is itself indescribable.

Thanks, Tom



Yes, beautiful -- thanks for this and the days before it too. . . . Those birds ("lesser" only in name) and words (the pl in "plovers" replayed in "Played," et in "Wetting" in "feet") - - - -


pale orange of sky above black branches
of trees, whiteness of moon by branches
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

white of cloud in pale blue
sky, branch in shadow

below it, sparrow on feeder,
wing passing overhead

grey-white clouds reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Anonymous said...

This series (all of it) reminds me of the things I don't notice. One thing I often fail to notice is the need poetry serves to restore me and bring me back from various edges I approach all the time in daily life. The last couple of days became unexpectedly (I'm happy about this) professionally busy, which meant lots of edges, tension, confusion and counterfeiting calm. All of these bring me back to the real thing. I love the Blyth versions also and was fascinated to learn about his life.



yes, good to see this again, "that long-legged-bird-walking feeling" . . . .


first light in sky above still shadowed
ridge, song sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

perhaps “separate” painting,
view made in relation

thinking, to move in shadow
of which, that itself

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
white moon in pale blue sky above point



Hello again, Lesser Sand Plovers, one can keep coming back to this one. "Sketching . . . the movement" as Don says, "the essence of plover." Bob and I were looking at Blyth's Haiku last night and came upon "separateness of things, the mind swings back to the other extreme," maybe something like how the poem can bring Curtis "back from various edges. . . ."


orange edge of sun below still shadowed
plane of trees, red-tailed hawk calling
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

being itself in order to be
elsewhere, the object

structure, individual parts,
regarded in isolation

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
waning moon in pale blue sky on horizon

Julia said...

How are you, Tom? It's been a while with no news from you.
Best wishes!

doowman said...

Yes, we're hoping Tom is well and will address us soon.

TC said...

Hello all and it's lovely to see the ripples in the pond of the great work of Reginald Horace Blyth

Sorry to have been "away" four days. Computer crashed and burned, perhaps a mercy because there was little happy to share in one's own sorry mortal state bone abcess, sulfa drug & c.

Greater and greater envy of the graceful long-lagged water-walking birds.

What's their secret?

being itself in order to be
elsewhere, the object

structure, individual parts,
regarded in isolation

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

You were missed, Tom ...

May we all emulate those long-legged birds -

TC said...

Thank you, Don, there are moments when a kind word means a lot.

In gratitude, dedicated to you, on this ancient rainy, windy morning:

Buson: Winter Rain