Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mediation and Poetics - 91 - Haiku - 4 - (Zhuangzi)


   [Hokusai (1760-1849) - Philosopher Watching A Pair of Butterflies (1814) - plate from picture-book, Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden National Museum of Ethnography]                

So what I’d like to do now is read through a whole range of these, getting now into the 
actual haiku themselves, referring back to both (Christopher) Smart and (William) Blake’s long-line form, noticing that, in a sense, the haiku is parallel to the long-line form. The long line is only good if you’ve got a haiku in it, or you’ve got some mind-jump

“The cow comes,/moo, moo/ out of the mist”
“Yield to the willow/all the loathing/all the desire of your heart”  [(I think (Ezra) Pound paraphrased that in his later Cantos – “On the island of Tarpeo, weep your heart out to the willows”)] - “Yield to the willow/all the loathing/all the desire of your heart”

 “Octopuses in their jars..” [(Octopuses were caught in jars in shallow water)] – “Octopuses in their jars/transient dreams/under the summer moon”
Student: Can you read that again?
AG: “Octopuses in their jars/transient dreams/under the summer moon” – If anybody needs any of these read over, I’ll read them over. If anybody’s got a real comment, we can make a comment, but there are about thirty, forty, fifty, that are just perfect and most of you don’t know these so I’d like to just lay ‘em out like eggs, one by one.  Yes?

Student: Can you repeat (that one), “Simply, you must empty “is” of meaning/ and not take “is not” as real”                                                                                    
AG: That’ s what you just did.                               
Student: (I wasn’t quite clear about the) last word?)         
AG: (“Real”) -  “and not take “is not” as real”. 
Student: “(A)s real”?                                                       
AG: Yeah - “Simply, you must empty “is” of meaning/ and not take “is not” as real”
And there’s the famous passage from (the) Zhuangzi – “as the butterfly/however it may be”..was the haiku answer – “The world is, after all,/ as the butterfly/however it may be” – Do you know that? Does everybody know that? Everybody heard that before – “Am I a man who dreamed of being a butterfly?/or am I a butterfly/dreaming myself to be a man?” – Does everybody..
Student: Zhuang Zhou
AG: Zhuangzi. That’s what I thought I said – Zhuangzi, in , I guess.. which chapter? do you know?
Student (I’m not sure)
AG: On making all things equal

“The storm has come/the empty shell of a snail” – [(relating again to that “Am-I-a-man-dreaming-I-am-a-butterfly-or-a-butterfly-dreaming-I-am-a-man?”)]

“Arise, arise/and be my companion/sleeping butterfly”
or – “I will ask/concerning the haiku of China/this fluttering butterfly”
“You are the butterfly/and I the dreaming heart of/Zhuangzi” –

So, a little reference back to Chinese poetry here, since there’s a few excellent specimens that have minute particulars, or concrete images, and that lead into haiku 

A Life of Seclusion in Late Autumn

I live in a withdrawn, out of the way place
Not many people come and visit me.
I put on my clothes and sit quietly.
I nourish my peace of mind.
I don't sweep the autumn garden.
With a staff of wisteria in my hand,
I slowly walk over the yellow palonia leaves.

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