Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

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B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond – The ‘Aware’ – March 12, 2016

Good Morning!  It’s Bastet here once more filling in for our Paloma who’s still not quite herself but who’s coming along nicely!

As you can see from the title, I’m going to look at an aspect of Japanese poetry called aware.

All the various forms in the Japanese pantheon of writing, have their very particular set of rules and goals. For example, long before Basho in the Edo Period wrote his first famous Haibun collection known as Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Far North),  writers and poets were writing a combination of prose with waka (poetry) usually with what we call tanka as mini lyrical essays or prefaces to larger works.  However, Basho rose this practice to an art form coining the term haibun,  crowning the prose poem with a hokku (which we call haiku) by adding an aspect to his form called aware.  If the haiku is the understanding of the inner meaning of a moving moment (or a-ha moment) in an event … the haibun answers some of the questions of how one got to that inner meaning of the moving moment. The Japanese  word for this  inner meaning (or a-ha moment) is known as aware (pronounced ah-WAR-ay) or the spirit of the moment or object etc.

So the Haibun isn’t just the mundane description of an aspect of a voyage with a haiku tacked onto it but it is the effort to create a moment of aware or emotional reaction through the spirit of the moving moment without really stating what that emotion should be.  The prose poem is completed by the haiku (or tanka) so the haiku shouldn’t just be a re-description of the moment but a sort of climax  – the haiku by itself would perhaps be beautiful but one may not be able to understand the meaning hidden with-in it … it’s the complimentary aspect between the prose poem and the haiku that makes a Haibun a Haibun. Taking this further we can  apply aware to the Haiga (a bit of visual art with a haiku) or the other poetic forms like the Choka or the Kyoka or Senryu … which is rather daring of me, as many of these latter forms are not considered poetry at all by Japanese Officialdom.

In any case, here’s an example of what I’m trying to talk about taken from a lovely essay written by Aimee Nezhukumatathil at Poet’s Org on February 20, 2014 :

“For example, in the haiku of a haibun in Oku no Hosomichi, Basho writes, “Taken in my hand it would melt, my tears are so warm—this autumnal frost.” A reader could have a literal understanding of this metaphor as a haiku, but its full effect—its aware—is apparent only when one reads the prose of the haibun that precedes it. In the prose of the haibun, the reader clearly sees that Basho used the word frost to describe holding his dead mother’s white hair. The haiku and prose poem of the haibun rely and lean on each other for a fuller, more resonant experience. In How to Haiku, Bruce Ross writes, “If a haiku is an insight into a moment of experience, a haibun is the story or narrative of how one came to have that experience.” A haibun should have a palpable, inherent sense of aware. Without it, as Basho warned, the poem becomes just a mundane list of travel and nature observations.”

For more information on the various aspects of aware in haibun visit the article above.  

Haibun is a fairly recent form here in the West.  It’s very experimental and many authors have different opinions of what Haibun is or isn’t … and as in most of what we do in the West, we have been known to get into some pretty virulent arguments as to what we’re doing.  The purpose of this post is to show another aspect behind Japanese writing – the aware – which can be applied to Haibun, Haiku, Tanka or any other form of Japanese poetry and takes us beyond the trite birds and bees on yellow flowers to something deeper – not to open up to any more arguments.

Let’s see if I can create a Haibun for you as an example of  aware.  

Cold, the wind blew among the trees as the people followed behind the horse-drawn hearse.  Although the sound of the wind, the leaves, the many foot-falls and the clomping of the horses filled the air along the road – everything seemed silent.  A  heart-beat which had boomed in her mind had  stopped.  Snow began to fall.

frozen tear-drops
fall upon the city streets
mixed with autumn leaves

© G.s.k. ‘16

§§§§

So, there’s my Haibun created for this occasion but I could have written a Shadorma or other form as you might choose to do yourselves.  What I’m really looking for this week is not a specific form or genre, but the usage of a  specific poetic instrument.

Now for a little inspiration to help you write with aware, which you may use or you may inspire yourself in some other way:

light experiment_small

Once you’ve completed your poem please tag: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie and B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond, then link up to our Mr. Linky app.

Have a great week,  Bastet.

BTW … someone asked me once if the poetic forms should be capitalized or not … I do so in my prompts (when I  remember to do so) only to emphasize them a bit … it’s not obligatory as far as I know.

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About Bastet

I love to read...I like to write...I've travelled the world and seen the sites. I'm past my prime and feel so young, especially when near the young. I'm writing this blog, to remember, to think and to share...with the hopes that someone else will make a comment that will stimulate new thoughts and pathways. Actually, I'm a gabber, so the logical extension of gabbing is blogging! ;-)

35 comments on “B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond – The ‘Aware’ – March 12, 2016

  1. Pingback: B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond – The ‘Aware’ – Childhood Memories – ladyleemanila

  2. Pingback: Black and White – Haibun – March 12, 2016 | Bastet and Sekhmet's Library

  3. Melinda Kucsera
    March 12, 2016

    Interesting, very interesting this ‘aware’

    • Bastet
      March 13, 2016

      Glad you find it so … 🙂

      • Melinda Kucsera
        March 13, 2016

        It’s also tricky too 🙂

      • Bastet
        March 14, 2016

        It is a bit perhaps … which is the challenge of course to create aware without seeming to create aware … not easy.

      • Melinda Kucsera
        March 14, 2016

        You have to be a Japanese master to do it 🙂

      • Bastet
        March 15, 2016

        I don’t really think it’s necessary to be Japanese … as it isn’t necessary to be Japanese to write splendid haiku – but it does take a different way of looking and understanding things …

      • Melinda Kucsera
        March 15, 2016

        True I can’t seem to get into that mind frame 😦

      • Bastet
        March 15, 2016

        I became interested in Zen way back in the 80s so I’ve been playing around with this sort of thing for a very very long time. I was a Shiatsu therapist and my teacher was (still is in fact) a kendo and zen master. I also tried marshal arts (but decided I didn’t like it very much) and flower arrangement (which I still do and enjoy), I also studied macrobiotics for a period but I decided that I wasn’t interested in that sort of thing – too much pseudo-science for my taste. Now I’m just a 64 year old woman who’s tried a little of this and that throughout my life – the only constant though in the end is Zen which I absolutely adore … because the whole point of Zen is “not TRYING to do anything”. It might help to know that I became interested in Zen through the work of Alan Watts … his “The Way of Zen” inflamed me. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/514210.The_Way_of_Zen … and you might be interested to know that for me Zen isn’t a religious thing … it is a way and a philosophy I’ve adopted to live my life. So, although I’m not Japanese, and it isn’t necessary to be Japanese to understand ‘aware’ understanding a bit of Japanese philosophy probably helps a bit … only I’d forgotten that – so please, don’t feel sad and don’t feel bad.

      • Melinda Kucsera
        March 15, 2016

        Wow your life sounds like an interesting adventure. I’ll add the book you recommended to my to read list 🙂 I’m always interested in k learning something new 🙂 no worries, I’m not sad. There are many things that I don’t understand. They are avenues for learning 🙂

      • Bastet
        March 15, 2016

        Very true and avenues for learning is a delightful image!

      • Melinda Kucsera
        March 16, 2016

        yes it is! I love how you think! 🙂

  4. Paloma
    March 12, 2016

    Thank you so much for covering again, and for a tremendous post!

    • Bastet
      March 13, 2016

      Thanks dear … glad to be of help and thanks for the compliment!

    • Rall
      March 13, 2016

      Glad you are feeling a little better Jen. Get well soon !

  5. Pingback: Koans? – photography plus

  6. Rall
    March 13, 2016

    Gerogia, ..you have created a wonderful mood in this haibun.Great intro for a novel or /movie. Excellent.

    • Rall
      March 13, 2016

      oops Georgia !

      • Bastet
        March 14, 2016

        No problem … until we find auto-correcting keyboards things like this will continue to happen 😉

    • Bastet
      March 14, 2016

      Why thank you very much Rall … that would be an excellent thing to do …

  7. Pingback: Aware Haibun – WritersDream9

  8. Pingback: (s) ‘7 prompt mash’ : March…Unbound (3.15) | Jules Longer Strands of Gems

  9. julespaige
    March 15, 2016

    When stuff fits or not…I stuff…
    March…Unbound

    • Bastet
      March 15, 2016

      Oh my .. now what have you come up with dear Jules!

      • julespaige
        March 15, 2016

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_of_March

        I thought this was interesting:
        The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year.

      • Bastet
        March 15, 2016

        How interesting is this … I’d never come across it before! Thanks for telling me!

      • julespaige
        March 16, 2016

        I had read about Caesar and all… but I hadn’t read about that bit until the other day. Considering the most of the months are named for Roman gods… Janus, Freya, Mars… But odd that Mars was the first month to have the first full moon of the new year.

        Sept should be the seventh – not ninth month, Oct – 8th, Nov – 9th and Dec 10th… but Julius and Augustus Caesars wanted months named after them when the weather was good. At least I think I read that somewhere. 🙂

      • Bastet
        March 17, 2016

        Yes … the months have gotten messed up I think as we moved farther and farther from Roman times. I too wonder about September through December. As you know, I live in Italy and shamefully 😉 had never come across that calendar bit until I read it yesterday in your comment – you’re piquing my curiosity though.

      • julespaige
        March 17, 2016

        It would be interesting to see old calendars! Or even modern representations of what they may have looked like. Maybe there are some in the library or museums?

      • Bastet
        March 20, 2016

        I wonder when they actually started making calendars … an interesting idea. …

      • julespaige
        March 20, 2016

        Different cultures…different dates.
        I was looking for the circle version but this is interesting too:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar

      • Bastet
        March 21, 2016

        Ah yes .. of course the Mayans did have a calendar … I forgot about them, a very interesting read!

      • julespaige
        March 20, 2016

        I found this too:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar

        I’ll have to go back to this link. Too much information for me at the moment. But it does explain some of the early Roman names and changes.

      • Bastet
        March 21, 2016

        As you say .. too much for a quick browse … but I’ve bookmarked it for later.

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