naviarhaiku523 – My eyes lift to see

My eyes lift to see
A sky that is entirely
magnolia blooms

by: Natsume Soseki


This is a haiku taken from Kusamakura (or The Three-Cornered World), a novel by Natsume Soseki I'm currently reading.

A book that transcends the plot development of "standard" Western literature, this is a book about the nature of art and beauty, filled with lyrical beauty and internal monologues on what it means to be an artist.

To give you an idea, here's how the book starts:

“If you work by reason, you grow rough-edged; if you choose to dip your oar into sentiment’s stream, it will sweep you away. Demanding your own way only serves to constrain you. However you look at it, the human world is not an easy place to live. And when its difficulties intensify, you find yourself longing to leave that world and dwell in some easier one—and then, when you understand at last that difficulties will dog you wherever you may live, this is when poetry and art are born.”

One of the most influential modern Japanese writers, Natsume Soseki’s literary career started in 1903, with a series of haiku and renga published on various literary magazines.

Between 1900 and 1903 he studied at the UCL in London, but this proved to be quite a dramatic experience for the young Soseki. Despite this, when Soseki returned to Japan, he exploded into prolific writing activity.

Haiku by Natsume Soseki

Picture by Henry & Co.

Join The Naviar Haiku Music Challenge

This haiku poem is part of the Naviar haiku music challenge, where artists are invited to make music in response to a weekly assigned haiku poem. Participation is free and there are no limitations in the songs’ length or genre.

You have seven days from the posting of this haiku to submit your track. For information on how to make a submission, visit the Naviar Haiku Music Challenge page.

Submission deadline: 17th January 2024

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