Sarashina Travelogue Erasure

winds filled
longing moon
over a ragged peak
abandoned mothers
die among the stones
haiku disciple
shared desire
we were joined
by a road
dangerous, winding
as we tried
our inexperience showed
mistakes
learning
laugh
courage
continue
an old road carrying
a crushing load
on bent back
wobbled
breathlessly along
stern
determined
leaving me
atop
mountains beyond mountains
over my head
a sheer cliff
a rushing river
every step
passed through other
higher and higher
until we
dizzy
ignoring danger tumbled
stricken with this stormy world
Even the Buddha watching
would feel
for the servant

For dVerse from Basho’s “Sarashina Travelogue,” included in my copy of Narrow Road to the Interior

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About Yousei Hime

This is the journal of a poetic rabbit. Within the warren you'll find poetry, short stories, essays, art, book and movie reviews, and other odds and ends. If you happen to meet the fey princess, be courteous. This rabbit did and was forever changed.
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21 Responses to Sarashina Travelogue Erasure

  1. ayala says:

    Excellent write! 🙂

  2. Luke Prater says:

    This is fantastic! It tumbles and rolls and the images, stark, majestic, shrewdly observed, don’t let up on the journey. No stanza breaks is just perfect. Is this in the style of the Basho piece/a pastiche, or a tribute, or more inspired by? It’s wonderful in so many ways,. I’d have to call it my favourite of yours so far (that I’ve read).

    an old road carrying
    a crushing load
    on bent back
    wobbled
    breathlessly along
    stern
    determined
    leaving me
    atop
    mountains beyond mountains

    …. Even the Buddha watching
    would feel
    for the servant

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Luke,
      Welcome. 🙂 So glad you like it, but most of the credit must go to Basho. My only contribution boils down to knowing which words to remove and how to arrange those that are left. Maybe in choosing the text to work with which to work. I wasn’t familiar with erasure poetry. (from the dVerse post–“Erasure poetry is a form of found poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem.”) I enjoyed it, and it is another, simpler way of getting back into writing. Thank you for your encouragement. I really enjoyed the post on Hemingway and “sentence” fiction.

  3. Good to see you back again after a while, with such a fine offering. Nice job with transforming Basho into your own unique narrative.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Joseph,
      Oh so good to be back. I’ll have to remember erasure as a “kick-to-the-writing-butt” exercise for the future. 😉 I know I haven’t commented much, but I’ve been reading over at your place. Happy to see you writing more and enjoying things. I wish you wisdom and inspiration in your writings honoring your friend.

  4. I agree with Brian that this is emotionally potent, you use the space created by the erasure to convey heartbreak. The compassion evoked in the end really touched me. Thanks so much for linking in the comments. Beautiful work!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Anna,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I really enjoyed the exercise, especially after such a long writing silence. I’ll have to keep it in mind as a starter for ending the next dry spell. I really did like how the actual journey could be transformed into something more mythic and still personal. The Buddha remark at the end … well that just had to be there. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

  5. slpmartin says:

    Excellent poetic presentation of the journal entry.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      slpmartin,
      Thank you. Basho’s writing makes turning it into poetry a very simple project. His journals are beautiful, and it’s easy to see why they’ve remained popular for so long. Happy to have your visit and your words.

  6. Raven says:

    It is really wonderful to read new words of yours, really wonderful.

  7. ManicDdaily says:

    Super interesting text – it feels almost like a journey through poetry as well as an arduous physical journey – one imagines a Japanese painted landscape – those stones and rushing waters and bent backs. Thanks. k.

  8. ladynyo says:

    every line is evocative of deep emotion, pain, and life. I was just reading something of Basho’s….or came across the words: Withered Fields. Not a poem, but perhaps a title of someone else? Well, it will be a poem because it evokes something so deep in my I am haunted just by these two words. As your writing haunts me, also.

    Lady Nyo

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Lady Nyo,
      Basho offers an exquisite starting point for erasure poetry. I googled around on your “withered fields,” and apparently that is from the reportedly last haiku Basho wrote–ill on a journey/I run about in my dreams/over withered fields. I look forward to reading where those withered fields take you. Let me know when you’ve answered that muse.

      • ladynyo says:

        I did, yesterday…and my husband said “It’s not one of your better poems”. LOL!

        But I’ll send it to you anyway, just for a lark. It needs so much work, but then again….all poetry does. I have dear friend in India, RK Singh, who pushes me in the poetry department, and he is an excellent poet. I shudder when I read his marvelous work. Yours reminds me of his. Hugs!

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Lady Nyo,
          What do those guys know? Just kidding. It’s nice to have some perspective, especially one that will challenge. Thank you for the kind comparison. I have writers/bloggers I admire very much, who often make me feel like a beginner. I think those people are very important too. Hugs in return, a couple at the very least.

  9. brian miller says:

    abandoned mothers
    die among the stones…wow what an emotive two lines that…
    every step
    passed through other
    higher and higher…its an interesting journey you take us on through your words….
    cool piece ma’am…smiles.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      brian,
      Thanks for the quick response. The words were all there in Basho’s journal. There is actually a mountain which they were attempting to climb, which in ancient times (ancient even for him) was a place people left their elderly women to die. The journal is interesting in it’s own right, and full of poetic possibilities. Thanks for stopping in to read.

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