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A Wolf in Firefly's Clothing?

Started by Jim Kacian, February 12, 2011, 07:09:23 PM

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Mary Stevens

Quote"I've wondered if a spider eats a firefly where the glow goes?"~chibi

"A word that breathes distinctly
Has not the power to die..."

            —Emily Dickinson

Scott Metz

i find this ku by Tohta to be incredibly fresh and enchanting. For me it has controlled intensity, simplicity, mystery, a balance of the dangerous/sinister and lightness/the ephemeral. It's an engaging image that invites the imagination, invites contemplation, and invites discussion on intertextuality and the vertical axis.

I like that it utilizes the firefly in a totally fresh way, instead of so much of the saccharine/Hallmark poems (oh isn't the firefly so *pretty*!) we normally see using the firefly/fireflies.

Of course it could be read metaphorically, as mentioned by others, instead of reading it in a hyper-literal way (far too often done unfortunately), or imaginatively as a creation/reflection of emotions and situation, or in the context of the "vertical axis" in which it would connect with mythologies, literature and culture (which Tohta himself revealed to be true). I think it is the mythological element (or the implied mythological element) that grabs me most about it. The mysteriousness of the way in which the images are combined; that they become something new. The ku feels like a kind of new mythology that is being shown. For me that is powerful and comes across in the English versions of it.

And so this one, for me, has great depth. It connects to so many things all at once (or: the *possibility* of connecting to so many things at once, not just a singular reading), to both the vertical and horizontal axes, with minimalism and freshness.

Also, this Tohta ku *strongly* reminds me of (or reminded me of when i first read it) Bashō's:

pine mushroom—
some kind of leaf
sticking to it

(The Essential Haiku/R. Hass)

from some unknown tree, a leaf
sticking on it

(tr by Makoto Ueda)

matsudake ya shiranu ki no ha no hebaritsuka

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