Battleground Pear Tree :: Haiku of Japan #48
nashi saku ya ikusa no ato no kuzure ie
a pear tree in bloom
by the ruins of a house
on an old battleground
(Tr. David LaSpina)
("Pear Blossoms" by Ito Jakuchu)
Shiki wrote this during his time in China as a war correspondent for the first Sino-Japanese War. This is a nice contrast to the warrior dreams poem of Basho's that I posted yesterday. As we know, Shiki wasn't Basho's biggest fan, and this was him poking fun at Basho. Whereas Basho's poem referenced a long forgotten conflict, Shiki refers to a recent battle, and where as Basho's verse expressed a kind of veneration for the long dead warriors, Shiki gives us a ruined house, suggesting the cruelty of war.
This haiku is also very much in Shiki's "visual painting" style. You can almost picture the haiku like a movie, first the camera tight on the beautiful pear tree, then pulling back to show us the ruined house, then back still to show us the scars of the battleground.
It doesn't entirely fit, but this haiku always recalls to my mind a scene near the end of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, when Clint Eastwood's character stumbles across a collapsed church, goes in and comforts a dying Confederate soldier. I can hear that haunting soundtrack in my head as I read the haiku. And now I bet you can too ;)
Don't miss other great haiku in the Haiku of Japan series!
#1–10 — Haiku of Japan :: Collection #1
#11–20 — Haiku of Japan :: Collection #2
#21–30 — Haiku of Japan :: Collection #3
#31—40 — Haiku of Japan :: Collection #4
#41 — Falling Camellia
#42 — Snow Falling
#43 — Morning Glory Shack
#44 — My Father's Face
#45 — Dragonfly Hunter
#46 — Fallen Butterfly
#47 — Fading Dreams of Ancient Warriors
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I post one photo everyday, as well as a haiku and as time allows, videos, more Japanese history, and so on. Let me know if there is anything about Japan you would like to know more about or would like to see.
|David LaSpina is an American photographer lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time.|