Inspired by Basho

washing my feet
I fall asleep for the short night
with my clothes on


Basho wrote this haiku about the short night of the summer solstice.   Chevrefeuille of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai ( writes of this haiku- “This haiku has Zen in it, it has humor and it has a season word ‘the short night’. Basho was very tired while he crafted this one, he even don’t had the strength to wash his feet and put off his clothes. While washing his feet he falls asleep and misses the shortest night of the year, the summer solstice. In that part is the Zen. The shortest night missing because you’re too tired, it feels like emptiness and also brings enlightenment.”


Down here in Oz the June solstice  is our winter solstice.  We have the shortest day, not night.

For the ancients the winter solstice was a time of renewal and they celebrated the eventual returning of light and warmth.  The solstice itself was regarded as a threshold – a portal into the new. That idea has a metaphoric resonance for me at present.  So many things in my life have ended over this past year.   Much that I identified with and defined myself by has reached its natural conclusion.   These things have fallen away but, as yet, nothing has come forward to fill the void.  There’s an emptiness in that but also an expansive and exhilarating feeling that within the void there are great creative possibilities.

Today I was sitting my car at a lookout  trying to figure out how to put all that into a haiku when suddenly an eagle appeared in my line of vision.   It flew towards my car, looked in the window then veered off and quickly flew out of sight.


Up at the lookout
even on the shortest days
the eagle flies

originally posted on my old blog Art and Life in June 2014


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