• Audrey Chin

Awaiting Mid-Autumn: Sun and Moon


Photo Credit: http://www.michaelyamashita.com For a wonderful pictorial accompaniment to the poem go to Yamashita’s website, and click on Stories – On the Trail of A Ghost


The 9th day of the 8th month of the year of the Water Dragon, 4709.

The sun  burnt today. And tonight the moon glowers.

The one following the other reminded me of the great opening lines to

Basho Matsuo‘s haibun – the Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Here they are:

Oku no Hosomichi

“The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on.  Whether  drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

“月日は百代の過客にして、行かふ年も又旅人也。舟の上に生涯をうかべ馬の口とらえて老をむかふる物は、日々旅にして、旅を栖とす.”

Basho Matsuo b. 1644, is considered Japan’s greatest haiku poet and Narrow Road to the Deep North his masterpiece.  Basho wrote the draft of this prose and verse travel diary on a foot journey through 17th century Edo Japan, but the work was only published five years later after many revisions.

He’s a particular favourite of mine for the way he paints multiple layered pictures with just a few words.  And of course, in this particular paragraph, I can totally resonate with the idea of homeland being a journey, the days and nights of our travels becoming our home.

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