haikai

A November with Basho, Day 19

Niigata prefecture (新潟県 Niigata-ken[1] is on the Japan Sea coast of the central Chubu region of Japan.

After several days, clouds gathering over the North Road, we left Sakata reluctantly, aching at the thought of a hundred thirty miles to the provincial capital of Kaga. We crossed the Nezu Barrier into Echigo Province, and from there went on to Ichiburi Barrier in Etchu, restating our resolve all along the way. Through nine hellish days of heat and rain, all my old maladies tormenting me again, feverish and weak, I could not write.

Altair meets Vega

tomorrow–Tanabata–

already the night is changed

Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamill, the Essential Basho, p. 27-28

Afflictions in Common

First, the soar throat, as though I swallowed a golf ball of snot. Then, the alternating congestion and headache. Finally, the dizziness and fatigue. With the world swaying, as though I strode a ship at sea, I could not travel.

And so, like Basho, for at least a day I could not write.

Polaris

as the night deepens

trembling leaves

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