The Road Less Traveled
A Tanka Prose for Basho
In 1693, parting from his favorite disciple Kyoroku, Basho said, “Didn't the retired Emperor Go-Toba say of Saigyo's poetry that it contained truth tinged with sorrow? Take strength from his words and follow unswervingly the narrow thread of the Way of poetry.”
a sliver of moon...
I cling to the thin line
to capture loneliness
in love poetry
Note: Emperor Go-Toba (1180-1239) was perhaps the best poet among Japan's sovereigns. For more information, see Yoshiko Kurata Dykstra, Sources of Japanese Tradition: From Earliest Times to 1600. Volume 1, p.351.
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