Dragonfly

Having read nearly 300 pages of Ueda’s Basho and His Interpreters, I find that my favorite poems still tend to be those that are the most concrete and that require the least knowledge of Japanese culture or Japanese literature:

a dragonfly
vainly trying to settle
onto a blade of grass

tonbô / ya / toritsuki / kaneshi / kusa / no / ue

dragonfly / :/ holding / is-unable / grass / ‘s / upside

COMMENTARY

In general short verse form, as it evolves with time, tends to focus more and more on things minute and delicate. This hokku shows the beginning of that tendency – Handa

This looks likes simple descriptive poem, and yet it makes us wonder whether Basho’s eyes were not observing something important in the very heart of nature. – Momota

Of course, this poem reminds me a number of summer photographs I took, like this one,

Dragonfly

so it’s probably not surprising it’s one of my favorites.