Tuesday, March 20, 2012

when the moon is dark this moon is full


occasional clouds
one gets a rest
from moon-viewing

blue seas
breaking waves smell of rice wine
tonight's moon

Now I see her face,
the old woman, abandoned,
the moon her only companion

Matsuo Basho seems to have many haiku mentioning the moon. I don't know what these haiku would be like in the original, nicer probably, as translation is always a tricky business.

Not the right time of year for this but Tsukimi refers to the Japanese tradition of holding parties to view the harvest moon. The custom is thought to have originated with Japanese aristocrats during the Heian period, who would gather to recite poetry under the full moon of the eighth month of the lunisolar calendar, known as the "Mid-Autumn Moon." Since ancient times, Japanese people have described the eighth lunisolar month (corresponding to September on the contemporary Gregorian calendar) as the best time for looking at the moon, since the relative positions of the earth, sun, and moon cause the moon to appear especially bright. On the evening of the full moon, it is traditional to gather in a place where the moon can be seen clearly, decorate the scene with Japanese pampas grass, and to serve white rice dumplings (known as Tsukimi dango), taro, edamame, chestnuts and other seasonal foods, plus sake as offerings to the moon in order to pray for an abundant harvest.

I know it says aristocrats but I wonder if it caught on with all classes of society. It sounds like a civilized business, and strangely not the sort of thing people are interested in doing here in the civilized west.


A13 said...

Moonlight on water
fingers on face
tenderness of nature

subtle touch of light
excludes resistance
accompanying warmth

saki in moonlight
saki in high noon
saki at dawn..too good.

Had to do some haiku for this pic as i'm missing my regular fix.. ;)
Thanks John, hope things are good on your side of the planet..and in your neck of the woods. I love your images and the connection to nature, the past and etheral realms they seem to portray to me.
Cheers A13

john said...

Nice one A13. It's still good to enjoyment haiku. Yes I'm missing the haiku blog already as well. I was hoping to have a word with nobody about keeping it all going but if he has his reasons that's up to him and we'll just have to see what he does or doesn't do. Personally I think his voice is too good to lose from the internet just yet. He always has plenty of insight into what's going on and his commentary is very helpful. All is ok here thanks A13. Cheers for now

P2P said...

what a beautiful picture. we'd call that reflection of the moon's light on the water kuunsilta in finnish or mÄnbron in swedish, both meaning "moon's bridge." I tried to see if there's a word for it in english, yet couldn't find anything.

northern siberian and sami people had/have a belief of the sun and the moon being sort of like mirrors that reflect the events here on earth. for this reason the shamans were seen as able to see from their "mirrors" where a lost horse, deer or a reindeer was, or see the destiny of another, distant human being. I just recently found out about this, which is personally meaningful because I've played with the same thought without ever before hearing about it being part of our native people's belief systems.

it is quite commonly known that us here in the north are partly of indian descent, and one evidence of it is an ancient belief related to the eclipses of the moon and the sun. the story our native people hold follows the same logic as that of ancient india - a beast called rahu was trying to eat the sun, but one of the gods managed to slay the beast in two. for this reason the sun always returns after eclipsing. the beast in question is recognized to be a dragon in the chinese mythology.

I am sad for the haiku blog too. maybe nobody could separate it from "nobody" and start it anew in some other corner of the internet. someone else could do that too of course, though I don't know who'd make for such a fine art director.

john said...

Hi and thanks P2P. Sorry about the delay in getting back here. I can't think of English version of Moon bridge either offhand. It seems that the Indian myths are very old indeed with some of them many thousands of years old and before that the oral history and mythology. Ancient cultures seem to have travelled around the globe quite a lot. Maps of the ancient sea kings and all that and the many shared similarities in mythology. I wonder if these are archetypal myths or because of contact. Hope all is good where you are.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfull photo John ,nice blue night colour,i like the reflection of the moon on the quiet gentle water .........beautifull ....

Anonymous said...

Hi John ,i'm Reem it was trial to write my comment ,it worked well ,i like your photo John it's very nice and seems quiet night ,the sea seems gentle and that reflection on the water looks very beautifull ,blue colours ,full moon ,nice walk ,i enjoy the full moon in my town too during the summer nights ,it appears slowly behind the mountain and soon it becomes high in the sky ,hope to enjoy all that this year .....I think spring is already now in Devon and it's warm and good weather to get a picnic and walk outside ,is it ? so hope good time for you John ......

john said...

thanks everyone and cheers Reem. For some reason a lot of comments have been redirected in to something called my spam box, which is something I didn't even know that i had here, so many apologies for not seeing them there.

The weather has been very hot lately Reem and we have had no rain so everything is looking very dusty and dry. The walking has been good though and I have been pottering about in the woods having a look at all the flowers and plants that are now coming up, bluebells and suchlike. The trees are just starting to leaf up now too, tiny leaf buds opening at last. It is all good stuff and great to see again. Cheers Reem I hope all is good where you are.