The Everyday Enchantment of Music

Brain Pickings – An inventory of the meaningful life.
THE EVERYDAY ENCHANTMENT OF MUSIC
A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music. Then the music was polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty home of a heart in trouble. Then suddenly there was sun and the music came back and traffic was moving and off in the distance, at the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, and there was thunder, which, however menacing, would become music, and the memory of what happened after Venice would begin, and what happened after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would also begin.

Winter is back

Winter is back for a day or two and Casa Monte Frio is under 3 inches of white stuff. Piñon branches are bending down in greeting, heavy with wet snow. But it is April and green blades of sturdy Southwest grass are peeking through the sparkling white blanket, which will melt in record time now that the sun glares down from a blue-bue sky.

They say spring has come
and the sky is filled with mist,
Yet on the mountains, no flowers, only snow.

– Ryōkan

Monday: Found

This is interesting on so many different levels, but particular in terms of testosterone:
Protect me from what I want.

Poem of the day via Weekly Words of Wisdom:

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter;
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

– Wu-men

Or how about this from the Upaya Newsletter:

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living in better conditions.

– Hafiz

Stream-and-Cloud Life

Unfettered at last, a traveling monk,
I pass the old Zen barrier.
Mine is a traceless stream-and-cloud life,
Of these mountains, which shall be my home?

– Manan (1591-1654)

Thank you IM.

Blossom

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.
– Anais Nin

Haiku

Simply Haiku: An E-Journal – Interview with David Barnhill
RW: Haikai, Hokku, and Haiku. These terms can be confusing. Please explain. Is there a difference between the terms?

DB: Haikai means something like “comic” or “vulgar,” something that does not fit the strict confines of courtly culture. Renga (linked verse) had been a courtly verse, but some wanted to break the mold and expand the range of renga, and so haikai no renga was developed. Basho’s genius was his combination of that free-spiritedness with aesthetic and religious depth. Sometimes he used the term haikai as a broader term for literary art, even art in general, if it had this more complex haikai spirit. So we can think of him as a haikai (not haiku) poet. Hokku, on the other hand, is the opening stanza of a renga sequence. It was so important that it eventually began to take on a life of its own, with poets writing just the hokku without the linked sequence. Basho wrote hokku (not haiku) poems. The great modern poet Shiki wanted to sever hokku from its function in a linked verse, and he emphasized the aesthetic of a “sketch” of a moment of nature. To indicate this change, he used a new term, haiku, for what had been called hokku. So haiku is a modern term Basho did not use. But the term haiku is ingrained in our culture, even when thinking of Basho. The result is indeed confusion. If we want to be historically correct, we should speak of Basho’s hokku. But haiku is the only single term we could use for what Basho wrote and what contemporary poets in Japan and around the world write. I use hokku when I’m in an academic context, haiku when I’m not. We certainly don’t want to get too hung up on terminology.

Related:
Reading
Basho’s Trail
Basho’s World
Friday in Phoenix
Monday, January 21st
To Translate is to Betray