Monday, March 3, 2014

Analysis of "Four Poems" by Yosa Buson

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Four Poems" by Yosa Buson 
Originally read: August 15, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Yosa Buson


Buson is considered on of the three master of Haiku with Basho, and Issa; however, I think Buson hasn't received as much attention as either.  Don't get me wrong they all have huge influence in poetry, but what separates each from each other.

In my intro to poetry class years (too many) ago, the professor just stated that Issa had a sense of humor, Basho focused on the journey, and Buson focused on the art aspect.

With these four poems, that is not the case for Buson.  If anything, Buson shows more of a journey of the self through nature with these four haiku.

     To be the first one there
     he wades the shallows secretly
     under the summer moon

Here's more of an observation in which the implicitness is within waiting.  Disregard the "he," the action holds a secret.

     Evening breeze caresses
     scrawny legs
     on the summer mat

Continuing with the summer theme, there isn't an explicit connection between both poems; however, note how nature impacts the character -- in the first poem, nature and the "he" are in agreement of sorts -- hiding in nature that accepts the hidden.

Here the the soothing breeze on scrawny legs.  Nature doesn't appear to be a theat here for summer.

     The morning dew --
     a hair of mine has fallen
     it has not yet known frost

Note the loss coordinating with the season of "frost"  and also note that the "frost" mentioned here isn't talking about the actual feeling, but the expectation of that feeling.  Also note the humor here -- the comparison exaggerates the hair falling to a season, an implied season.

     One step outside the gate
     and I too am a traveler
     in the autumn evening

I also think this poem has humor with it since this feels like a riff on traveler stories.  One leaving, there's usually a great sort of adventure.  But even walking out the door defines a person as a traveler.  The autumn evening adds to an artificial expanse.  Yes it's of a beautiful evening, but to where, one step out.

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