Tag Archives: Basho

Sound of flowers

We had our Flower Celebration at First Unitarian in New Bedford today (sometimes inaccurately called a “flower communion,” but out of respect for Norbert Capek’s original intent I’ll refer to it as a Flower Celebration). Everett Hoagland, the former poet laureate of New Bedford, pointed me towards a haiku by Basho that, for me, beautifully explains how a Flower Celebration continues to influence us long after the ritual is over:

the temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers


I am reading a translation of travel writing and other prose by Basho, 17th C. Japanese writer. He writes:

Now, for those who set their heart on the spiritual arts and follow the four seasons, writing is as inexhaustible as the sands on the beach.

He wrote this in a haibun about a painting, and he decides that the writers of his day do not measure up to the master poets of the past:

The joy of continuing their truth is difficult for those today.