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triveni spotlight: 19th July 2023

triveni spotlight A FEATURE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY! hosts: Kala Ramesh and Vidya Shankar GUEST EDITOR: Nandita Jain Mahajan, July 2023


the echo of the bell

at Yoshimizu --

I am here, too,

in a black robe

set against the white mist.

-- Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) (tr. by John Stevens)



lonely thing

unplayed

piano

Gabriel Rosenstock

Orang Utan



Thank you for giving me an opportunity to present my selection. Though the task of selecting haiku for Triveni Spotlight was very difficult, I found it very rewarding. I spent several hours going through poems available in the public domain and those from books in my personal collection. I read and re-read, shortlisted again and again paring down the list till I could do no more. It was a sheer joy to read such fantastic works - my heart is full ... so happy.

I tried to keep the poems different from what other guest editors had selected earlier. However, there is bound to be some repetition. I found myself leaning towards old Japanese masters like Basho, Issa, Shiki, and Ryokan but equally drawn to women poets like Chiyo-ni and Rengetsu. The simplicity, charm, and timeless quality is what pull me to their haiku. What a picture they paint! And, the space between what is said and what is unsaid. So many different interpretations which helped me connect to these poems.

Amongst the contemporary poets, I found myself opting for those that tugged at my heart. The poems span longing, sadness, hopelessness, hope, love, and gentleness. These are those that I could read over and over again, especially at dusk, when my mind is quiet and at peace. And then, something interesting happened. I realised that I could pair the masters with the contemporary - similar thoughts and subjects but different treatment. I hope you enjoy this selection. Nandita Jain Mahajan


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What a unique and refreshing way of handling this month's triveni spotlight selections! Watch out for this space, every alternate day, dear readers, you are in for a real treat! Thank you, Nandita. We are waiting to see the month unfold. _()_

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13 commenti


@Mona Bedi, I believe it is a 3 line ku. That is the way it’s written on the website.

you are so right about the feelings of loneliness and grief. Is the piano lonely or the person who misses the person who plays the piano?


Layers and layers…all ours to interpret.

Mi piace

Me too, @Linda Papanicolaou!! Rengetsu was so accomplished - a poet, martial artist, potter, calligrapher, an expert in the Japanese tea ceremony and a nun! As a potter, I love her work. As a poet, I can only hope that I understand her poems. As a human, I am awestruck by her resilience and positive attitude.


For me it’s so important to understand the person to understand their poems

Thank you for your comment ❤️

Mi piace

Thank you so much—I‘m a great fan of Rengetsu—her poetry and her pottery.

Mi piace

mona bedi
mona bedi
20 lug 2023

Ah… these lovely poems speak for themselves. Lonely and alone, full of grief. I love the first one but for the second one I could not understand whether it’s a 3 line ku or some other form. I would love to be enlightened on that one.

Mi piace

Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
19 lug 2023

lonely thing

unplayed

piano


Gabriel Rosenstock

This touched me deeply, Nandita. Any instrument that stands in a corner unused and unsung is a sad sight. It should never happen but it does.


And then you've coupled it with this tanka:


the echo of the bell

at Yoshimizu --

I am here, too,

in a black robe

set against the white mist.


-- Otagaki Rengetsu


I take this as the N being at a funeral in his 'black robe'.

What a stark image this tanka has. White against black.

Silence against the echo of a bell. And then you see the pair below. Isn't an unplayed piano as good as being dead, without being cremated? That's even sad - to remain…

Mi piace
Risposta a

You explain it so well, @Kala Ramesh. Lonely, unloved, forgotten, neglected, ignored, as good as dead.…Soon a ‘nobody’s child’?

Mi piace
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