It’s time for another Renga with Basho. For this challenge the haiku offered by Chevrefeuille, our Carpe Diem host, are translations by Robert Hass. The bold three-line stanzas are by Basho, renowned Japanese poet (1644-1694), and the italicized two-line stanzas are mine.
by the old temple
a man treading rice
golden manna from the storehouse
each grain a nourishing pearl
all the day long
yet not long enough for the skylark
old farmers toil and hum
whispering paddies rustle
a crane’s thighs splashed
in cool waves
an evening in the rice fields
quiet moments bathed in peace
can’t quite land
on that blade of grass
we shall spread a blanket
under the shady willow
I’m a wanderer
so let that be my name
the first winter rain
when peach leaves are falling
my staff will be by my side
Thank you to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai for this challenge. As mentioned above, the bolded stanzas are by Matsuo Basho, as translated by Robert Hass, and the two-line italicized stanzas were written by me.
Here I sit on the other side of an ocean and on the far side of North America, 73 years after the United States dropped two atomic bombs at the end of the Second World War— destroying Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and exploding over Nagasaki three days later on August 9. Hundreds of thousands of people, animals and other life dissolved in an instant.
On Hiroshima Memorial Day, August 6, 2018 I endeavour to expand my awareness beyond stock images of a massive mushroom cloud, the horrors of mass death and years of radiation sicknesses. I scroll through online articles grasping for nuggets of hope.
in a field of death
In 1949 the mayor of Hiroshima proclaimed his city to be a ‘City of Peace’. From there the city blossomed as a hub of memorials and advocacy for world peace and nuclear disarmament. In 2017 an International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for achieving a global agreement for banning nuclear weapons. What a concept! It has no legal force but the fact that a large number of nations agreed to ban nuclear weapons from the planet is a first step.
My third nugget of hope is that a United States President, Barack Obama, visited Japan in 2016 and spoke peaceful words of reason:
“That is the future we can choose…A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”
The whole world needs to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and recognize that mass destruction cannot resolve the world’s problems.
Martin Luther King’s words still resound with relevance 50 years after his murder on April 4,1968. At the time he was preparing to lead a protest in Washington called the ‘Poor People’s Campaign’. Bruce Witzel’s memorial, featuring quotations and photographs, is well worth a read.