A few days ago I mentioned the haiku written by Buson on his deathbed. The haiku referred to Wang Wei of the plum blossom poem previously posted with my painting. I found it particularly touching so here it is again with the image that came to me. I have posted two versions of the haiku – the one which I found and a version by Tom Radcliffe which respects haiku formalism. My illustration subtly refers to Wang Wei by bringing in a hint of plum blossoms. Hope you enjoy!
long ago in Wang Wei’s
winter warbler sings;
long ago in Wang Wei’s hedge
she sang for him too
As we saw off the end of winter with plum blossoms, it’s time to welcome spring with rain!
After I did the drawings for the Wang Wei poem, a friend sent a haiku by Buson which could also be the starting point for an interesting image. This was made into a proper haiku in English by my friend from the word for word translation he had found. Thanks Tom Radcliffe!
Mossy roof, spring rain.
Abandoned in the gutter
is a child’s rag ball.
As I was researching the potential for an illustration for the Buson haiku, I found a curious connection between the two poets. Here’s the poem written by Buson on his deathbed. (Unfortunately not a true haiku in English but the poignant immediacy comes through clearly.)
A friend who is studying Chinese literature suggested this favourite by Wang Wei as the starting point for me to draw an image. Here it is with the translation he sent with it below.
君自故鄉來， 應知故鄉事。 來日綺窗前， 寒梅著花未？
You, who came from my hometown,
can surely tell me hometown news.
The day you left, before the silk-curtained window,
Had the plum opened a winter blossom?
At first, I thought that perhaps a scene representing a last cup of tea with a friend before setting out on the travels would give some feeling of nostalgia for those left behind.Then I decided to try another perhaps more poignant view which could represent the sadness of the one left behind and lost love.Here are both. I would love to know which you prefer!