stillness

by Kobayashi Issa

English version by David G. Lanoue
Original Language Japanese

stillness--
in the depths of the lake
billowing clouds


- from the website http://haikuguy.com/issa/

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I keep returning to haiku. Three lines, just a few syllables each, a moment in time -- so little said explicitly, yet so much implied. A really great haiku is like peeking through a keyhole, the closer you get to it the wider the world it reveals.

This haiku, for example: We have have a still lake that is reflecting the sky. That's it. That's all the poet tells us. But we understand that it is the lake's stillness that allows it to reflect the sky. The mind, as it constructs this picture for us in the inner eye, expands this relationship between lake and sky, stillness and reflection to something more universal and also more personal. How do we see ourselves in the haiku? In contemplating the haiku, we are watching a scene, we too are receiving and reflecting an image of beauty. The more quiet we become, the more clearly we receive the image. Or perhaps we should see the lake as our own awareness, and sky as the Eternal. When we become supremely still, the heavens our found within our own depths...



Recommended Books: Kobayashi Issa

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) Haiku Enlightenment A Box of Zen: Haiku the Poetry of Zen, Koans the Lessons of Zen, Sayings the Wisdom of Zen





stillness