After three winters
And two thousand miles by foot,
Basho is back home.

By the lonely creek,
Under the banana tree,
He sits down and weeps,

Disillusioned, old.
Tears find paths in deep furrows.
Night frogs are croaking.

His peonies withered,
The starlings’ nest abandoned,
Basho’s eyes downcast.

“What did you expect to find,
That would be different, old fool?
Eternal Light in Nikki?
In the sacred temples, Peace?

“Did you hope for Truth to dawn
At the foot of Mount Fuji?
In Sado, Serenity?
Enlightenment in Gassan?”

Basho strokes his balding head,
Vaguely sensing a presence-
The Enlightened One’s spirit-
His mind merging with Basho’s.

“Like a donkey with carrots
Dangling, barely out of reach,
You kept trudging, believing
That next step would bring you … what?

“Surrender your attachments
To temples and holy shrines.
Search, instead, what’s most precious:
The priceless Pearl deep within.

“Give your soul and feet some rest
On a different pilgrimage:
A wordless, pathless journey
To the Heart within your heart.

“Knowledge, shy as a sparrow,
Is hiding behind your thoughts.
If you chase it, it’s nowhere,
By Grace and stillness it’s yours.

“The truth that will set you free:
You are Eternal Spirit,
United with all of Life,
Your heredity is Love.”

The night is over,
The horizon penciled out,
Promising sunrise.

Morning birds chirping,
Sky turning lavender blue.
Basho´s smile is back.

The Buddha’s voice now fading,
Just a whisper in the wind,
“You shall certainly find It
If you seek with all your heart.”

Basho hesitates,
”Master, I’ll try my best, but…
…I’m only a man”

***

Bees with tiny wings,
Oversized, heavy bodies.
Who taught them to fly?

5 1 vote
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Voice-Team
Voice-Team(@voice-team)
Admin
5 months ago

A story told in poetry of Basho’s pilgrimage home, with deft use of haiku and tanaga. The conversation with the Buddha is beautiful, challenging, and wise. The ending is superb. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

Your poetic story is totally mesmerizing, Christer. And I learned something in every paragraph of it. Especially the ending really inspired my whole being and mind. Well written.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
6 months ago

You’re welcome, Christer.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
6 months ago

You certainly hit the heart and soul of the subject there, Christer, and the final haiku is masterful.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
6 months ago

Well done, Christer in your narrative poetry.

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
6 months ago

Sometimes less is more, just like your haiku … Truly inspired!

Last edited 6 months ago by Greene M Wills
Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
6 months ago

I agree with Allan, Christer, you’ve truly captured the prompt, so eloquently and poetically. I absolutely loved it!

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
5 months ago

This is an incredible story, Christer – one of your best. Not only did you capture the spirit and story of Basho, but also so many of your lines are in the 5-7-5 three-line format that we associate with haiku. Beautifully written and crafted. I especially love the very last haiku. Excellent writing!

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Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
5 months ago

Not fair. What’s wrong with Mount Susan? OK, not quite the same ring. There was a part of your poem that made me imagine people from war-torn countries returning home after their wanders and what they would find.

Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
5 months ago

You two are hilarious. I will take these flippant references to sacred mountains – of which I am foremost of course – as the ditherings of humans. Basho and I live on a higher plane. Colorado mountains? Ha! A few years old compared to my ancient origins. 😊

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Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
Reply to  Fuji
5 months ago

I didn’t know I had a mountain

Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
Reply to  Susan Dawson
5 months ago

I also didn’t know there was a Mount Susan until Christer told us! I love the fact that we can explore profound topics, write about spiritual awakenings and also have fun in the process. I have to say Christer’s research for this story was incredibly extensive. We all learn from each other in these stories.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

Great Haiku story Christer. I have to say that I love your bee picture too. I wish I could take shots like that. It’s stunning.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
5 months ago

I certainly didn’t expect haiku when I clicked on your entry, Christer. A wonderful surprise and each one a gem, with the final one finishing the sequence perfectly. Well done!

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

Congratulations Christer on your top spot with your poetic haiku story 🙂

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
5 months ago

Congratulations on winning the Grand Prize, Christer. A wonderful take on the prompt.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
5 months ago

Congratulations, Christer! A wonderful use of the prompt and a well deserved win.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago

A big congratulations, Christer. I am happy for your win. Cheers!

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
5 months ago

You are welcome, Christer.

Juma
Juma(@juma)
5 months ago

Christer, I was so happy to see that you won this contest. Your story was beautiful and wise and incredibly well-written. It seems that your writing is reaching new heights! Congratulations.

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