Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism’

Buddhist literary themes

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Chionin Bell

Butterflies in haiku poetry often suggest the transitory nature of life, a key Buddhist concept. Here’s an old haiku poem, anonymous from what I can tell, that neatly brings together the butterfly and Buddhism. The image in this haiku suggests to me a butterfly seeking momentary respite in the sanctuary of a temple, both key images of my novel, Buddhaland Brooklyn.

Upon the temple bell
A butterfly is sleeping well

A poem in offering to the literary gods

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Poet-painter, Yosa Buson

As my novel, Buddhaland Brooklyn, is poured over at my publisher, I make a silent offering.

From one of the classic Japanese poet-painters, Yosa Buson (1716-1783), a haiku capturing the sentiment of my little book:

In a bitter wind
a solitary monk bends
to words cut in stone

Haikai offering

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

A large waterfall by Utagawa Hiroshige

As part of my haiku series of “offerings” to the literary gods, as my novel Buddhaland Brooklyn is readied for sale, I present a poetic morsel from one of my all time favorites, Yamazaki Sokan (1464 – 1552.) The poet was one of the granddaddies of haikai no renga, which are sort of offbeat and humorous linked verses that morphed into formal haiku. Sokan had a lovely sense of humor – here’s a taste.

O thou obsequious frog
With hands spread on the ground
And croaking flatteries of such solemn sound.

Haiku to bring in the New Year

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Kobayashi Issa

A New Year’s offering from my hero, the poet-priest, Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

Here’s the New Year
And on top of old foolishness
New folly is piled

An offering to the gods of all novels

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Buddhist poet-priest, Kobayashi Issa

I am just about to show my second novel, BUDDHALAND BROOKLYN, to my agent. In celebration, I will, for the next months, regularly post Haiku poems, my humble offerings to the literary gods.

First an offering from my hero, Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), a key background figure of my new novel:

Tub to tub
The whole journey
Just hub-bub!

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