When times get verse

Updated: Apr 17, 2020, 10:12 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

On International Haiku Poetry Day, The Guide picks works that reflect the times we live in.

Basho by Sugiyama Sanpu
Basho by Sugiyama Sanpu

words. The International Haiku Poetry Day celebrated annually on April 17 was initiated in 2012 as part of a project by the Haiku Foundation to celebrate the Japanese form. At a time when art becomes a source of both escape and hope, we pick some to inspire you.

1 American novelist and poet

Jack Kerouac penned nearly 1,000 haiku in small notebooks, in a form different from the traditional
Japanese one.
Men and women
Yakking beneath
The eternal void

2 Kobayashi Issa is one of Japan's most well-known poets and this 18th century haiku is reminiscent of a time when people are tied to their beds.

Arise from sleep, old cat,
And with great yawns and
Stretchings...
Amble out for love

3 2020 has got everyone, even those frustrated with it, exercising their creativity. For instance, American commentator Bill Kristol came up with a haiku on Twitter that went viral.

The markets tumble.
The coronavirus spreads.
Our president tweets.

4 Matsuo Basho is widely regarded as the greatest poet of the Edo period in Japan. His haiku proves to be an accurate analogy for social distancing.

Like clouds drifting apart,
A wild goose separates, for now,
From his friend
5Having translated Basho's work, Jane Reichhold echoes the realisation that transitioning into a post-lockdown world, will not be easy.
Moving into the sun
The pony takes with him
Some mountain shadow

6 Born into a samurai's family, Enomoto Seifu's poems were only published after her death in 1815. Evidently, she held nature close to her heart.

Everyone is asleep
There is nothing to come between
The moon and me

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