Topics: Matsuo Bashō, Haiku, Steffen Basho-Junghans Pages: 3 (1080 words) Published: May 3, 2013
Seasons: The Circle of the Life
Haiku is a popular form of poem in Japan. It is an unrhymed writing and because the content is very brief, usually only three lines for a complete poem, it is necessarily imagistic to create a vivid picture of the nature and seasons. Matsuo Basho, a famous haiku poet in Japan, mastered this form of poem and the poem “Four Haiku” is one of his writing. In this poem, we can easily see the change of life, from the beginning to the end, through many images of nature which symbolize the circle of life of a person.

In the first verse, Basho only writes one word “spring,” (“Four Haiku” 1) and he does not say anything else. At first, it may not make any sense when there is a single word at the first line, but if we think about spring as the beginning of a year, maybe there is a message left by Basho when he wrote it. By using the symbol spring, he invites readers to a journey, the journey through a life. Spring is the symbol of youth, of a baby who is just born and will start his journey soon. Then, he mentions about “A hill without a name” (2). This can be an image of the child who is not given a name yet. Moreover, he also uses the image of “morning mist” (3). Although it is the beginning of a new life, everything is still unknown; the child, who is just born, will soon start his journey, but he does not know what is waiting for him ahead, and what life he will encounter. Everything is still a mystery. The word “mist” can be related to water which is often comprehended as life.

In the second verse, Basho starts the first line with “The beginning of autumn” (4). When mentioning about autumn, Basho wants to use this as a symbol of someone who is coming to middle age; the child, who is just born, now has become an adult. Then, he draws a picture of “sea” and “paddy.” When we talk about these two images, we usually think about a view of the blue of the sea and the yellow of the paddy, but no. Here, in this poem, Basho writes “emerald...
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