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Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3

FEATURE

Susumu Takiguchi


Dedicated to the memory of Babette Dea Wilson, the late sister of Robert Wilson

Haiku Allusion - (1) On the Theme of Death - Part One


Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
(Bible, Romans iii, 8)

[The work to which each of my haiku alludes follows it in square brackets.]


1

after your death
a good epitaph, only for others
and autumn wind

[William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, Hamlet, II, ii, 553]


2

better to live
a life of obscurity
than to die
with a bad epitaph

[ibid.]


3

cold wind
the angel of death beating his wings…
hospital window

[John Bright, 1811-1889, Speech, House of Commons, 23 Feb., 1855]


4

If the bell tolls for thee
It must toll for me too…
Autumn diminishing

[John Donne, 1571?-1631, Devotions]


5

peace with death,
the autumn of my life
and faithful to it…

[Bible, The Revelation of John the Divine, i, 8]


6

summer clouds…
the bitterness of death passing, as
life takes on another meaning

[Bible, I Samuel, xv, 32]


7

autumn ending…
I’d rather die once, and let others
in life die many times

[William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, I, i, 134]


8

when I go, I go…
not even a shooting star
shall be seen

[ibid.]


9

summer rain dripping…
a hole eventually bored into a rock
as death comes when it will come

[ibid.]


10

the greatest fear of man,
death comes unseasonably
as we never are ready for it

[ibid.]


11

winter night…
even the fair of unparallel’d beauty
in death’s possession

[William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, II, ii, 199]


12

the taste of an apple
turns to the colour of death,
the fall of man

[John Milton 1608-1674, Paradise Lost, Bk. I, l, 1]


13

judge, jury and police…
occupying forces in Iraq condemn
the populace to death

[Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898, Alice in Wonderland, Ch. 3]


14

moonless night…
darker than death
showering woes

[Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822, Prometheus Unbound, IV, 570]


15

death after life
not life after death…
winter moon

[Edmund Spencer, 1552?-1599, The Faerie Queene, Bk I, c, I, i]


16

gentle and poor death…
neither mighty, nor dreadful,
beyond the withered field

[John Donne, Holy Sonnets, X]


17

autumn’s end…
man’s woes and suffering,
death closes all

[Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892, Ulysses, 1, 45]


18

soon or late,
death will visit us all like
leaves fall from trees

[Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay, 1800-1859, Lays of Ancient Rome, Horatius, i]


19

the courageous, unflinching
in the face of the bitterest cold,
whom death cannot daunt

[The Oxford Book of Ballads, Mary Ambree]


20

field of poppies…
we’re raised from dead ancestors,
death has no dominion over us

[Bible, Romans, iii, 8]


21

we take our exits, through
ten thousand several doors,
as we live different lives

[John Webster, 1580?-1625?, The Duchess of Malfi, IV, ii, 1, 146]


22

a vast withered field…
this world in the viewless winds
ours is the pendant world

[William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, III, I, 114]


23

to die a patriotic death…
one way of conquering the fearful,
and praised for it

[William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903, For England’s Sake, iii, Pro Roge Nostro]


24

leaving the withered branch
a lone crow joins the great majority
by death

[Edward Young, 1683-1765, The Revenge, Act IV]


25

the icy hand of death
makes it the greatest leveller, blowing
kings and peasants equal

[James Shirley, 1596-1666, The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses, I, iii]


26

strawberry and cream in summer…
hot broth in winter, life’s feast nourished
by the death of each day’s life

[William Shakespeare, Macbeth, II, I, 36]


27

even Cock Robin must go,
making all birds fall a-sighing and a-sobbing;
who will cry over my death?

[Nursery Rhymes, Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book, c. 1744]


28

spring not far behind winter…
perhaps fooling us into believing in
life after death

[John Donne, Holy Sonnets X]


29

in a death so noble
life could be redeemed,
winter violet

[John Milton, Samson Agonistes, 1, 1721]


30

like the dusk of an autumn day,
I shall sit peacefully and enjoy
my own journey’s end

[John Dryden, 1631-1700, Palamon and Arcite, Bk. ii, 1, 607]

 


Susumu Takiguchi Susumu Takiguchi is a Japanese poet, artist, and essayist. He has been resident in England since 1971.

In the field of haiku, Takiguchi’s great uncle, Naoh Kataoka, was a close pupil of Takahama Kyoshi (1874-1959). Born in 1944 into a family versed in haiku and other Japanese literary tradition, Susumu dabbled in haiku as a young boy and has enjoyed the art ever since - nearly fifty years. He became more serious about the haiku art when he delved, in primary and secondary school days, into the literature of Koyo, Soseki, Shiki, Meisetsu, Ogai and other Meiji writers.

However, it was while doing research into Basho as Lecturer in Japanese Language and Civilisation at the University of Aston in Birmingham, UK, that he started to write haiku as a fully-fledged haiku poet. His haigo (haiku nom de plume) is Ryuseki, which means "stream and stone" (or more mysteriously, "floating stone"). This has led him to become involved with many haiku practitioners and scholars, both in Japan and other countries. He has held numerous public lectures on haiku. He is a member of the Japan Classical Haiku Association, Haiku Society of America and of other haiku organisations. He served as Vice-President of the British Haiku Society, in charge of dealing with Japan and liaison with the academic world.

In 1998 he founded the World Haiku Club in order to run the World Haiku Festival 2000, a five-year project aimed at making a contribution to the development of the world haiku movement. This event led to another successful World Haiku Festival 2002 in Japan, as well as to various innovative haiku events in different parts of the world. As Chairman of this thriving world-wide haiku network, he wishes to work together with like-minded haiku lovers to help develop what has become a world literary asset.

As another professional area, painting is where his heart lies. Takiguchi was first introduced to Western-style painting in Kyushu, Japan, when he was a small boy under the tutelage of a local artist, Shinichiro Murakami. He was also influenced by his uncle Yoshitada, who is a banker/artist. Landscape paintings were his favorite genre then and have become his main area of expertise. He received further training in painting from various artists who taught at different art clubs and private schools to which he belonged.

After coming to England to study economics at Oxford, Takiguchi spent a year at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in the 1970s. He now paints not only in the Western style, but also in the traditional Japanese style. Also, by combining the two styles, he is trying to create a new style of haiga. He believes that in his pictorial language, all paintings are reduced to three factors be they figurative, abstract or anything else: colour, form and composition. Music and poetry also play a part in his painting. His works are generally held to be colourful, merry and uplifting.

Takiguchi has experienced many different careers, including financial correspondent with the Nikkei Economic Journal; Editor-in-Chief, The Art Market Report; art critic and part-time instructor at Oxford University; lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham; Executive Director of Strategic Planning & Research, Nomura International PLC. He is currently Director of Ami-Net Oxford International and Chairman of the World Haiku Club. He has written numerous technical articles in various fields and also has produced many translation works. He was educated at Waseda University in Tokyo and the University of Oxford.

Publications include Kyoshi - A Haiku Master, Ami-Net International Press, England, 1997; Ushizu no Zaregoto (an anthology of haiku); The Twaddle Of An Oxonian - Haiku Poems & Essays, Ami-Net International Press, England, 2000. He edited WHF2000/2002 world haiku WILD FLOWERS, NEW LEAVES– A Collection of World Haiku anthology, which was published in commemoration of the World Haiku Festival 2002 held in September at Yuwa Town, Akita, Japan. He has also translated into Japanese: The Fake's Progress by Tom Keating, Geraldine Norman, Frank Norman, Shincho-sha, Japan; Naked Came I (the life of August Rodin) by David Weiss, Futami-shobo, Japan; Towards The Tamarind Trees by Anthony Trew, Hayakawa-shobo, Japan; Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell.


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