Wednesday, October 25, 2017


                                                  On a withered branch
                                                     a crow has settled---
                                                        autumn nightfall.

                                                    Basho (1644-1694)

Autumn is here.  Rain falls for hours, soaking the streets and landscapes.  Drivers, never heeding the obvious, speed through the rain, and careless, suddenly stopping, having hit a car and now wait for the police and their frowning paper disapproval.  Night now encloses the day, saying "summer, you had your fun but now the season is mine."  Standing water splashes upon walkers bent against wind and moisture, umbrellas proving scant protection. Northwestern crows (corvus caurinus) caw, caw, speaking to me,  and you, asking for something better than bread: cheese, we like cheese, and chicken bones too.  Cab business, like the skies, darkens and brightens according to seasonal moods, embracing like afternoon sun breaks then collapsing upon our heads, stormy and contrary and wet, soaking us through garments to the skin, all held captive in the balky moment.  Footballs are kicked and fans roar, and breath is held---shall we win, can we win, and why is victory so important?  I cannot tell you why. And if I did know, I wouldn't tell you.  It not mattering, not mattering.

It is autumn.  It is the waning season.  We will cozy up and stay warm, sipping warm coffee and green tea.  It is autumn.  It is October.  Just ask the crows.  They will tell you.  All you have to do is listen.  They are talking to you.  Listen.

Basho translation from "An Introduction to Haiku" by Harold Henderson, 1958, Doubleday & Co.

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