Bashō's Road

to the small poem and the quiet voice within

saijo yaso | the crow’s letter

SAIJŌ YASO

The Crow’s Letter

I opened and read
The small red envelope
The mountain crow had brought:
‘On the night of the moon
The hills will blaze
Savage and red.”

I was going to reply
When my eyes opened.
Ah, yes, there it was:
A single red leaf.

6 Comments

  1. Wonderful painting. It is so good to see your art getting exhibited. Have you thought of doing prints of your art so people could afford to buy them? i would love to have a print of this on my office wall. It is so vibrant I think it would transmit energy! The poem of course is also lovely, it unfolds on many levels. One can turn it over and over with fascination and keep finding new carats. For me, the best carat is the ominous turned sweet, even reassuring, the seasons as always going on.

  2. I agree with what Barbara writes: your painting is full of energy and vtality. It does suit the poem with emphasis upon the colour red.

  3. Norb you’ve thrown a curved ball. This is an intrigueing but difficult one to comment on. Saijo Yaso is Japanese and their mythology associates the Crow with love and gratitude. But Chinese legend has it that ten red crows were sent to bring light to earth but they also brought unbearable heat which caused Yi the Good Archer to kill 9 of them leaving the last crow to become the Sun. There you have it–a mixture of creative benevolence and malevolence!Much depends on how you read the message of the night of the moon–I read it as a cautious warning. If this poem carries this heavy burden–it is true Asiatic caligraphy. I may also be full of Excretio taurus!!! Phil Hansotia.

  4. Wonderful painting and poem. I just warm inwardly whenever I see a new Basho in my e-mail.

  5. how delightful to just open my eyes
    and see it too

    wonderful painting..

  6. I liked the art but didn’t think the poem worked, despite its good intentions. The opening lines are confusing to a Westerner. When you open an envelope you don’t read the envelope but the paper inside the envelope. I don’t find the reduction of the crow’s message of hills ablaze with red to a single read leaf particularly insightful or wise. No epiphany there.

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