The Poet Basho (1744-94) chatting at a moonviewing festival,
from the series ‘100 Phases of the Moon’ by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Fireflies are starting to appear at night in Paradelle. This reminds me of a story about the haiku poet Basho. He once came upon a haiku that he found to be cruel. So, in an act of Buddhist kindness, he revised it.

The poet Kikaku had written:

A red firefly
   tear off its wings –
a pepper

Basho’s revision was:

A pepper
   give it wings –
a red firefly.

It is not very difficult to be kind.

from Basho: The Complete Haiku

Advertisements