Real poetry is to lead a beautiful life…

The Gentlest and Greatest Friend of Moon and Winds.  Basho, 1644 – 1694

artemisdreamingMany years ago there went wandering through Japan, sometimes on the back of a horse, sometimes afoot, in poor pilgrim’s clothes, the kindest, most simple hearted of men…Basho, friend of moon and winds. Though Basho was born of one of the noblest classes in Japan, and might have been welcome in palaces, he chose to wander, and to be comrade and teacher of men and women, boys and girls in all different stations of life, from the lowest to the highest.  Basho bathed in the running brooks, rested in shady valleys, sought shelter from sudden rains under some tree on the moor, and sighed with the country folk as he watched the cherry blossoms in their last pink shower, fluttering down from the trees.  Now he slept at some country inn, landscape in the moonlightstumbling in at its door at nightfall, wearied from long hours of travelling, yet never too tired to note the lovely wisteria vine, drooping its delicate lavender blossoms over the veranda.  Sometimes he slept in the poor hut of a peasant, but most often his bed was out-of-doors, and his pillow a stone.

When Basho came upon a little violet hiding shyly in the grass on a mountain pathway, it whispered its secret to him.  “Modesty, gentleness, and simplicity!” it said.  “These are the truly beautiful things.”

Glistening drops of dew on the petal of a flower had  voice and a song for him likewise. “Purity,” they sang, “is the loveliest thing in life.

The pine tree, fresh and ever green amid winter’s harshest storms, spoke staunchly of hardy manhood;  the mountains had their message of patience, the moon its song of glory!  Rivers, forests, waterfalls, all told their secrets to Basho, and these secrets that Nature revealed to him, he loved to show to others, for the whole of living of life was to him one great poem, as of some holy service in the shadow of a temple.

“Real poetry,” said Basho, “is to lead a beautiful life.  To live poetry is better than to write it.”  And whenever he saw one of his young students being rude, in a fit of anger, or otherwise acting unworthily, he would gently lay his hand on the arm of the youth and say; “But this is not poetry! This is not poetry.”

~ Olive Beaupré Miller, A children’s book titled Little Pictures of Japan originally published in 1925

 

 


Source: artemisdreaming via madamescherzo

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Comments

  1. What a great title!

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  2. The truly good stories seem to stand the test of time…..

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  3. Real poetry for real poetry lovers David

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  4. How nice and true… Fascinated me. Thank you, love, nia

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  5. “…the mountains had their message of patience; the moon its song of glory!”
    From Annie Dillard (Pilgrim) – “Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back…the mountains are home.”
    Nursing a sore foot :( and reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – posts coming…

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  6. each beauty of nature has an inspiring message to share! nice story

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  7. Beautiful!! ~ Lily

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  8. “But this is not poetry”…what a perfect response to a small child gettin’ his/her goonies on (I know, that’s not poetry either). Perhaps it would sustain that innocent interest in the beauty of small things, the introduction of the impact of the small, gentle gesture. I love this story – it’s a keeper.

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  9. What a fabulous story. I’m going to keep this one to read over and over.

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