A Grass Pillow

A Grass Pillow

On the Trail with Basho Encore (01), a grass pillow

“On the departure of Rotsu for Michinoku (the Northern part of Honshu)”.

kusa makara   makoto no hanami   shite mo koyo

a grass pillow
is the best to use when coming
to view cherry blossoms

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

cloud watching
hands behind head
grass for a pillow

~~~

lying on our backs
under the maple tree
light shadows dancing

On further reading these are not in the same spirit:  According to Jane Reichhold, Rotsu was leaving to follow Basho’s trip of the previous year to the Far North. Rotsu was rather notorious for his bad behavior. While in Zeze, visiting in a home, he broke a valuable tea container. Instead of owning up to the accident, he blamed another one of Basho’s students. Basho got very angry with him over the incident. He only forgave Rotsu shortly before his death. But he was so concerned about the situation that he had left a note in his will of his forgiving Rotsu for this. Rotsu did attend the funeral service of Basho at Gichuyi Temple in Zeze and wrote a detailed report of the end Basho’s life and death.

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