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Literary Analysis of "four Haiku" by Matsuo Basho and "after Basho" by Carolyn Kinzer

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Autor:   •  March 11, 2012  •  Essay  •  808 Words (4 Pages)  •  9,436 Views

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Haiku is well known form of poetic writing. It is an unrhymed poem that uses aspects of nature, and uses only three lines developing a vivid image. One of the most well-known Haiku authors is Matsuo Basho. Basho wrote "Four Haiku" which use symbolism throughout the poem. Another author that was long after Basho was Carolyn Kizer she uses metaphors in her Haiku "After Basho." All though both these authors are separated by hundreds of years they are brought together with these two poems. By use of symbolism in these poems we can see one life start and end and then start a new life for another.

In Basho "Four Haiku" he uses many symbols in his writing, with these symbols he uses, he sets up this poem as if it is a journey through life. From young to middle age to coming to the fact that time is almost up. In the first verse he starts out the first line with the single word "Spring" (Basho 883) this word is a symbol of youth. In the second line he says "A hill without a name" (Basho 883). In this line he sets the image of very young youth, perhaps being a newborn, not knowing the name of the hill. With his use of the words "morning mist" can be another symbol of being just born. Sometimes water or a form of water can be seen as a symbol of birth.

In the second verse of Basho poem he talks about "The begging of autumn" (Basho 883). This is yet another symbol of coming of an age. This is a symbol of entering into middle age life, perhaps adulthood. With the second and third line he makes it clearer that this is entering adulthood by using the word "green" (Basho 883) which is symbolic meaning of "with life." In the third verse he talks about the autumn winds still blowing green. Symbolizing that he is still in the middle age and life is strong.

In the final verse of Basho's poem he opens with "A flash of lightning" (Basho 883) symbolizing the moment of truth. Another meaning is "God's voice of truth." This is representing that he is about to make his journey into old age and to his death. He says "into the gloom" and "goes the heron's cry." (Basho 883) Blue herons have been symbolized as dissension and gloom has been known to have meaning "without truth." This is a sign that he is talking about that his death is approaching and does not know what will happen after death. There is no known truth of what happens when you die. He ends the poem with the knowledge that his time is to come soon but does not know when.

In the second poem by Carolyn Kizer "After Basho" she is doing two things she is showing respect to Basho, but she is also showing that it is time for someone else to me in the light. In the first line "Tentatively, you" (Kizer 884) she is speaking to what symbolizes an unknown writer. The second line she is talking about slipping onto stage.


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