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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
of labor
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.

Submitted: Friday, April 05, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 10, 2013


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