When I decided to read more poetry last year I stumbled across Bashō and I haven’t looked back since. Of all the things I read his works was some of the ones I came back to over and over. I was happy to find some in A poem for every night of the year too but ultimately I needed to get more, and thus I bought The narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches.
What should be noted is that it’s mix of prose and poetry( i.e. haiku) and not only his own work but also that of others; people he met and people he admired. As he undertook his travels almost as a pilgrimage it ends up being the notes from both his inner journey and his reflections of his surrounding. “Delicacy of feeling” are the words used on the back and I agree. There is a tenderness there, and insights. A very good books to read on the commute or when traveling.
I must say that I took in the introduction and footnotes with joy as this is an era(the Heian-Era) that I’m interested in. And I always read the footnotes anyways, I’m just pedantic in that un-charming way. You don’t have to, it makes a lot of sense without it, the translator has done a very good job I believe.
Draining the sake cask
a gallon flower vase
You can learn great things from books, and meet like-minded people. In addition to his brilliant poems, Basho writes about the “sake cask”. I discovered a long time ago that a nice bottle makes an excellent vase but I was obviously not the first to do so.
I once went to a dinner and arrived with a purple hydrangea. The host and hostess didn’t have a vase so we placed it in empty Bombay Sapphire bottle: the light blue of the bottle work so well with the flower. I often use a large Hendrick’s bottle: the label was damaged so it’s just black now. The green Tanqueray bottles are also wonderful for a single large flower.
I can also say that five pink peonies placed individually in green beer bottles in a window was a lovely and chic set-up but due to no battery I didn’t take a photo( it was at a restaurant). However I have these small beer bottles and some chrysanthemums which looks rather good together.
And as I was walking home from work yesterday I saw this in a window.
Old Genever bottles with stem cabbage. Very chic and minimalist. Such bottles can be found at flea markets but I will also say that I think Genever is underrated and buying it is not a bad idea. Will make a note to blog about cocktails to make with it.