in the temple court
ten thousand morning glories
holding back the dark


23 comments on “Court

  1. joanna says:

    what a sight that would be! [ literally or not.]
    I have to confess that I don’t quite understand the morning glories’ involvement in basho’s haiku.

    • We in the West are like that, I think: We want to understand everything, and when we don’t, we give ourselves over to bemusement. I’ve come to the conclusion that the chief pleasure of writing poetry of any kind is to play with language, and to let language play with us. Poems (to paraphrase the poet Archibald MacLeish) should not mean, but be. If a poem has a good sense of being about it, then I’m satisfied, even if I can discern any “deeper meaning” or “hidden meaning.”

      I’m convinced that Edward Lear wrote “The Owl and the Pussycat” for the pure pleasure of the way the words sounded on his tongue when he read it aloud. It begins:

      The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

      And you can find the whole poem here:

      On Mon, May 4, 2015 at 12:33 PM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


      • joanna says:

        Couldn’t agree more. But only if we are talking about ‘real’ poetry. This is bound to be controversial, but I mean poetry where linguistic devices are not frowned upon, as they are in haiku.
        I have been wondering about sound and melody in haiku. We are obviously hindered by a lack of knowledge of Japanese, but even in our English versions I long for melody and sound.
        And of course you picked a good one there, with E. Lear. playful and melodious.

      • Bastet says:

        Bravo … I couldn’t agree more … I more or less usually write by word association, especially with the wordles challenges. A memory may invite words that form a poem … and sometimes there’s just a lot of nonsense that wants to be written, that tickles inside and wants to get out. I write because I love to play with words and with the great puzzles we call prose and poetry. And sometimes I’m really impressed with all the “deep many layered meanings” people read in these little creations and sit back and say “Wow, and I didn’t even see it!” ! 🙂

        • Somestimes, Bastet, I think people see what they want to see. If haiku must be profound and wise, then they see profundity and wisdom. Hmm…

          On Tue, May 5, 2015 at 1:38 AM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


          • Bastet says:

            Mark, I always think that people see what they want or expect to see. I’ve often been very surprised to see how people interpret my poetry …

          • That’s probably about all any of us can do, Bastet: see what we want or expect. That’s why I think it’s perfectly ridiculous to analyze poetry when the whole purpose of writing a poem (as I see it!) is to create something of beauty/truth, and to invite readers to experience it with us. How, for example, can you “interpret” the Grand Canyon or any of the other great natural wonders of the world? They just “are,” and it is their “are-ness” (how’s that for making up a word?!) that we are invited to participate in through contemplation and meditation. And I stop here, because I’m getting into territory for which there is no map!

            On Thu, May 7, 2015 at 2:50 AM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


          • Bastet says:

            I can’t but agree. I feel that each of us has a very particular and subjective way of looking at things .. that is the result of many complex factors which makes us all a little different one from the other, although some would like to lump us all together 😉 This is one of the reasons that I personally don’t believe in “truth” or “beauty” either because truth/beauty are subjective … this is rocky ground of course and I stand to be misunderstood … I’m just basically saying that one person’s vision of the truth or what is beautiful may not correspond to what I think is true or beautiful … which in no way makes it less true or beautiful … so, I agree, interpreting someones poetry is nothing more than saying what you’ve seen and understood, but perhaps has nothing to do with what the poet was thinking/feeling whilst the piece was being written.

            Thanks for this stimulating comment! And I do love your “are-ness” very apt!

          • And as a final note, “are-ness” is better than being an arse!

            On Thu, May 7, 2015 at 4:08 AM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


          • Bastet says:

            There ain’t no doubt about it! 🙂

      • That’s very interesting. I think simplicity is also something lacking, a simplicity and clarity of thought, and a certain objective sincerity. One of the things that really sets your haiku apart, is that they are never about you. I think one or two people could sit up and take note of that. You also show respect for the reader following what you said, and not ramming some idea down a reader’s throat, so to speak

        • Oh, that’s a good observation, Forest Tinker. Thanks for that one. (Now I have the weight of it to bear as I write henceforth. LOL)

          On Tue, May 5, 2015 at 2:43 AM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


          • Like Suzanne, I didn’t get the point of the morning glories in Basho’s haiku, so I’ve had a scout about the internet and discovered they’re a symbol of mortality (because they’re so short lived – obvious really). Whereas pine represents endurance. So I guess they’re more or less opposites, which I could have worked out for myself if being able to google everything hadn’t turned my brain to mush. And I do think haiku, even if there aren’t formal rules on rhythm, meter or scansion, need to sound elegant or lyrical or melodious. Otherwise they’re just a sentence written in a peculiar way. Sometimes I think people claim to see deeper meaning to seem clever but sometimes even simple poetry can “speak” to people and sometimes you can write something and only later realise it has subconscious significance.

          • Sorry, I meant like Joanna – what did I say about brain turning to mush?

          • Brains do tend to “mushify” when engaged in online activity too long! 😉

            Thanks for your observations. I’ll try to address them at length later, when I have more time.

            On Tue, May 5, 2015 at 6:35 AM, Mark M. Redfearn wrote:


  2. A startling image – and one can imagine an emperor ordering exactly that

  3. What a magnificent image!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Yes, I agree. It is a wonderful image

  5. I love the thought of a court of morning glory.. couldn’t be better.

  6. What a gorgeous image!

  7. janicead says:

    Very nice, Mark.

  8. WOW Mark what a wonderful haiku …. a masterpiece worthy as a tribute to Basho

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