Sunday, September 06, 2009

Senzai Hishõ

One of Portland's genuine treasures, and one of its secret gems that I most enjoy is its Japanese Garden. Saturday was cold and rainy, but the wonder of the Garden is that is is meant to be enjoyed in all seasons, and the rain lent the garden a rare beauty that is hidden from the viewer of only sunny days. So we set out up the rainy and winding path to seek what enjoyment we could find at the end.No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.Won't you come and see
loneliness? Just one leaf
from the kiri tree.First winter rain--
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.Clouds appear
and bring to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.Spring rain
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasps' nest.The years first day
thoughts and loneliness;
the autumn dusk is here.In all the rains of May
there is one thing not hidden -
the bridge at Seta Bay.Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

old pond;
a frog jumps into
the sound of waterWinter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing.The oak tree:
not interested
in cherry blossoms.My little daughter;
Is that burden not heavy
For your small fingers?(The Sakuteiki is a garden book with notes on garden making that dates back to the late seventeenth century. Its oldest title is Senzai Hishõ, "Secret Extracts on Gardens", and was written nearly 1000 years ago, making it the oldest work on Japanese gardening. It is assumed that this was written in the 11th century by a noble man named Tachibana no Tichitsuna.)

Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉; ?, 1644 – November 28, 1694) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku.

(Thanks to the Portland Japanese Garden for the beauty of the outing, and Matsuo Basho for the beauty of the poetry...except for the last, which is my own and my daughter's.)


Lisa said...

Thank you for the beautiful and serene photos.

basilbeast said...

Yes, as usual, Lisa's right.


Have you heard of this organization?

I discovered it looking at a news story ( can't recall where ) about school districts banning biking to school.


Lisa said...



Wanting to ban biking to school is just nutty, but it fits in with our disconnected gestalt. People drive 1/2 mile to go to the gym to walk on a treadmill, after all.

FDChief said...

Lisa: Ta.

I always feel odd taking litte girl to the Japanese Garden, as if I'm ignoring the Rape of Nanjing. But then I rationalize it by remembering how much Japanese culture owes to China. And there's always the Chinese Garden, for which I'll have to do another photo essay.

BB: I have. The no-bike-to-school thing is understandable when you think about litigation and the firestorm of bad press you get when some kid gets wiped out on his bike. Sucks, but that's our society...we're so close to Astor that our little guy couldn't even break a sweat if he biked there.

basilbeast said...

Yes, the point being, school districts that encourage biking to school by placing bike racks at school buildings might feel more than a bit nervous about litigation should a kid or kids get hurt, as you wrote.

Especially if the school is on a high use street.

And bikes are usually out in the street, whereas walking keeps the kids on the sidewalk.

I bike to my school ( about a couple of miles ) across some busy streets. In the years I've been doing that I've never been close to getting hit, but then again I'm no longer a kid.

btw, chief, if you're still on facebook, and you too, Lisa, a couple of my compadres at my 2nd job convinced me to join up, so now I'm on facebook.

Let me know.


Brent said...

The poetry makes the Japanese Gardens come alive so much. Thanks for a new perspective on such a beautiful place. One of my favorite locations to unravel my mind and find a quiet spot to find peace. I particularly like the little bamboo fountain that tips when the stalk fills; I need one at home.

Lisa said...


I am, under "RAW", but I must forewarn you: I'm a horrible Facebooker.

That said, I'd love to be your friend :)

Barry said...

Thanks, Chief. This was a nice post.