An ode to Basho

The onset of spring. Solitude and peace in a Japanese garden. Cherry blossoms waiting patiently for a sensuous rampage. While the magnolias and chaenomeles can no longer wait. They have burst forth like the vanguards of the season.

Water – some stagnant, some speeding, lulling, yet not putting one to sleep.

Trees – some empty, some flowering, others evergreen as if reflecting the circle of life.

So many scurrying thoughts, yet so much peace. Zen.

Yes, such were my vagrant thoughts on an empty weekday at the Auburn Japanese Gardens. When I look back and reflect, there were too many emotions, just as there were colours despite the wintry day.




I have written about the cherry trees here before (As I write this, I realise it has been four years since I started writing here). This time, therefore, I have decided not to describe. Rather I will be terse, and let the emotions of that day express themselves through more questions than answers. The results are the following haiku – a Japanese form of the poetry that celebrates intensity in brevity. They are an ode to the greatest master of the format – Basho (17th Century Japan). For as I walked through the gardens – an oddity in an otherwise busy life to rush and move – I couldn’t help but imagine the overwhelm that such spring filled beauty can usher, along with the need to control and calm the mind. Hence the deep breaths, hence the haiku. After all, what else but fleeting cherry blossoms to celebrate the intensity and yet therein, the simplicity of life…


The mossy waters are stagnant, old

But what beauty –

The red bridge has a purpose now


When you have walked the gardens before

One cherry blossom –

Ah! Spring is complete


Winter brings dismay in empty cherry blossoms.

While the lorikeet sucks the plum flowers

I am put to shame.


What marvel in the magnolia blooms –

Is this the will to live?

Laughter I hear – It is the joy to die


Melancholy makes me reflect,

On the sadness of a sunny day

The wise goose doesn’t care.


Cherry blossoms remind of home:

Even if I have lost mine,

Can they ever lose theirs?

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