willow shade – – haibun

Words replay and reform under the sun and moon…on water, on mountaintops, in forests….Matsuo Basho thought of the poems of Saigyo on his 1689 trek. He visited a willow where Saigyo wrote this poem over 500 years earlier:

At the side of the road

The willow’s shade

Where clear water flows

Thinking “Just for a while”

I stayed on

~ Shinkokinshu

In Basho’s time Saigyo’s willow was by a rice field. He wrote:

Rice-planting done, they

depart — before I emerge

from willow shade

~ Narrow Road to the Interior

Willows border a rural road near my home. Their long branches add elegance to the flat terrain. William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963) wrote of willows in autumn:

It is a willow when summer is over,
a willow by the river
from which no leaf has fallen nor
bitten by the sun
turned orange or crimson.
The leaves cling and grow paler,
swing and grow paler
over the swirling waters of the river
as if loath to let go,
they are so cool, so drunk with
the swirl of the wind and of the river—
oblivious to winter,
the last to let go and fall
into the water and on the ground.



willow shade

silent whispers

of ancestors


©️2019 Ontheland

Prompted by Frank Tassone’s Day 5 of November with Basho

Image courtesy of Pixabay