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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - A Haiku by Chiyo-Ni (& one by me)

Detail from a circa 1840 woodcut of "Chiyo of Kaga Province" by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Here we are at April's doorstep.  For Poetry Fridays in April, I'll be sharing some of David G. Lanoue's recently translated "dewdrop haiku" by Issa - that was David's quarantine project! Learn more about David at haikuguy.com .

 

For today, after another week with a tragic mass shooting, on the heels of Georgia's with its racial undertones, I thought I'd simply share a poem by a famous early female haiku poet.  Today, March 26, is a day across the country to focus on #StopAsianHate.

 

Fukada Chiyo-Ni lived from 1703-1775 and was influenced by Basho and his followers.  She was a poet, artist, calligrapher, and nun during her lifetime. 

 

Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi wrote a book about her, Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master (Tuttle, 1998), but it is sadly out of print. An article on The Haiku Foundation website features Donegan's discussion of women haiku poets who have influenced her, including Chiyo-Ni, which you can read here .  A few excerpts from the book and more can be found here

 

 

The poem of Chiyo-Ni's that always gets me is this one, which is said to have been written after the death of her young son, her only child.

 

 

The little dragon-fly hunter, –
How far I wonder,
Has he gone today.

 

 

There are many translations of this haiku, but this is the version offered by R. H. Blyth in Volume I of his A History of Haiku (The Hokuseido Press, 1963).

 

Here's a link to the website of the Chiyo-Jo Haiku Museum in Japan, with more information and her haiku. 

 

Finally, here's a recently published haiku of mine about grief, too, though it was written about someone's passing at the end of life, rather than the beginning.

 

 

late fall

grief notes

in the old song

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 Modern Haiku, Vol. 52.1, Winter-Spring 2021

 

Join the rest of the Poetry Friday Roundup at Soul Blossom Living, where Susan is rounding up Poetry Month plans as well. Wishing you peace and good health as we continue to the march into Spring. 

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Poetry Friday - Spring!

From Songs for Little People by Helen Stratton, with illustrations by H. Stratton, published by Constable in London, 1896.  Source:  The British Library. 

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  The Spring Equinox is almost upon us.  I sense we are all hungry for Spring.  (Of course, in our region of the country, Spring storms are nothing to sneeze at.  My family members spread around a few states were fortunate in the recent line of severe weather that stretched through all of them.) 

 

Now the pollen - that IS something to sneeze at. If the layers of gold covering everything are any indication, Mother Nature is on schedule for all this annual renewal. 

 

I stumbled on the delightful poem and illustration above, while searching for an image to go with the poem below. So today's post nods to Britain's song thrush twice. (A frequent subject in British poetry.  Here's a bit more about this musical birdie at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.) In my own yard, it's the cardinals, Carolina wrens, bluebirds, Carolina chickadees,  some sparrows and warblers, mockingbirds and brown thrashers making a ruckus.  How about yours?

 

Here's a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) for today:

 

 

Spring


Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. 

 

What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

 

More about GMH and his poetry here  and here

 

 

Earlier this week, I came across a couple of quotes by Joan Walsh Anglund, and I was wondering how old she was and what she'd been up to.  Her illustrations always brought me joy and comfort growing up, and beyond.  While writing this post (Thursday), I meandered into the news that she passed away today.  (Click here to read her obituary in Publishers Weekly.) Here's to all the Spring she brought into lives all over the world. And here's one of her quotes perfect for the season:

 

A bird does not sing because he has an answer.
He sings because he has a song.

    --Joan Walsh Anglund

 

Wishing you and yours a safe and lovely Spring....

 

*Birthday shout-out to our Spring baby, Seth, who turns 26 next week!* 

 

Our outdoorsy Linda Baie has the Roundup over at Teacher Dance, with thoughts of Spring and a wonderful original poem about TIME.  Thanks, Linda, and enjoy, all!

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Poetry Friday - Some Ancient Irish/Family History...?

Adding these and more items as fast as I can! [Update - had some techno-issues with Etsy for some reason trying to make new listings Friday.  Slowly but surely getting some new things added.]   (Here's a link to CELTIC in my Etsy shop.)

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Almost-St. Patrick's Day! I've fallen prey to Celtic whispers again, and though returning to Ireland and The British Isles is not on the near horizon, I've been adding to my collection of books about Celtic ornament and medieval calligraphy and such, and dipping into bits of lore.  

 

I've been away form Ancestry.com for FAR too long, and hope to jump back in later this Spring.  But in addition to the major English/Welsh/Northwestern Europe lines in my family tree, and the more than a third of me that is Scottish, there is this intriguing branch of the family tree thanks to my mother's grandmother, Sarah O'Neal (born in 1861).  I spent a fair bit of time tracing these O'Neals before our family Scotland/Ireland trip in 2018, and there are definitely some characters in that line of folks.

 

I need to go back and double-check, but after some late-night sleuthings back then, it sure looked my family went right on back to a certain Sir Hugh O'Neall who was born at Shane's Castle in Antrim (Northern Ireland) in 1698 and eventually jumped ship in the Delaware Bay. 

 

My meanders then led me to that line of the family going all the way back to  - hold onto your shamrocks – a certain "Niall of the Nine Hostages" – (Niall Noígíallach), an ancient High King of Tara from 379 to 405 A.D.. Whether he existed in more than legend is not completely known, but some Trinity College genetic researchers determined that his DNA can actually be found in three million or so men alive today around the world. (The common Irish surname "O'Neill" - "Ui Neill" in Gaelic -  means 'descendant son of Niall.')

 

**Holiday Note:  Niall of the Nine Hostages is said to be responsible for the capture and enslavement of a 16-year-old boy from Wales named Succat (along with his sisters). This young man grew up to become Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.**

 

So for Poetry Friday, here's part of a dirge singing this ancient king's praises, translated by Kuno Meyer in

Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, published by Constable & Company Ltd. in London in 1911:

 

 

A DIRGE FOR KING NIALL OF THE NINE HOSTAGES (+ a.d. 405)

 

 

Tuirn son of Torna

 

When we used to go to the gathering with Echu's [15] son,

Yellow as a bright primrose was the hair upon the head of Cairenn's [16] son.

 

Torna

 

Well hast thou spoken, dear son. A bondmaid should be given thee

For the sake of the hair which thou hast likened to the colour of the crown of the primrose.

 

Eyelashes black, delicate, equal in beauty, and dark eyebrows—

The crown of the woad, a bright hyacinth, that was the colour of his pupils.

 

Tuirn son of Torna

 

The colour of his cheeks at all seasons, even and symmetrical:

The fox-glove, the blood of a calf—a feast without a flaw! the crown of the forest in May.

 

Torna

 

His white teeth, his red lips that never reproved in anger—

His shape like a fiery blaze overtopping the warriors of Erin.

 

Like the moon, like the sun, like a fiery beacon was the splendour of Niall:

Like a dragon-ship from the wave without a flaw was Niall, Echu's son.

 

[15]Niall's father.
[16]Niall's mother.

 

You can find the rest at Gutenberg here.

 

(And did Torna really say that Tuirn should be given a 'bondmaid' because of a clever simile about Niall's hair?! Did I read that right? :0! I do quite like that dragon-ship line, though!) 

 

You can find out much more about King Niall with an online search, such as these thoughts by Claire Santry, sharing her genealogical adventures at her website, Irish Geneology Toolkit.  

 

~In the studio, Celtic adventures continue... I've been going a bit crazy making jewelry and other items with reproductions from gorgeous 19th-Century printed plates/manuscripts that I have, featuring ancient Celtic ornaments and designs. Much more to come!~

 

If St. Paddy's Day has you in a celebratory mood, then you'll enjoy all the birthday doings over at My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi is kindly hosting this week.  Happy Birthday, Heidi!

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Poetry Friday - Mooove on along to Kat's!

Greetings! Got myself a bit busy this week, but moooove on along to our wonderful Kat Apel's place, where she's gathering the herd for the Poetry Friday Roundup and sharing her new book! 

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