the garden of 17 syllables: a haibun for Basho

Five decades of wandering, in every step perhaps your heels planted seedlings of words, of love,  of wisdom, of life. So much of your history remains a hidden story. We’re you a slave, a samurai, a cook, a poet, or everything and more? We can read scrolls after scrolls but never can we know.

A beautiful name you gifted yourself, Basho, after your beloved word-artist Li Po which carries the tart taste of a white plum. But no, plum did not win over your favourite plant — banana. In 17 syllables you have transformed a pair of cotyledons to a blooming spring’s cherry blossom of poetry. Until Autumn came to dry your ink in a field of golden, lifeless weeds.

short fifty years of
singing cuckoos, sorrowed snows,
timeless lines remain.

04.28.2020
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For dVerse Haibun Monday 4/27/20: A Portrait of Two Masters
Basho’s last words:
旅に病んで夢は枯野をかけ廻る tabi ni yande / yume wa kareno wo / kake meguru
falling sick on a journey / my dream goes wandering / over a field of dried grass