Friday, October 07, 2016
Farmer Poet Gives Voice to the Things that say Nothing
In today's Asahi Newspaper the philosopher Seiichi Tsuruta, who is usually very "Western" in his belief that the self is essentially linguistic, returned to his senses and chose for today's "words of the moment" (ことばのおりおり") the following excerpt from the poet Hiroshi Nagata who died, at age 75, in May last year.
People learn words, and lose happiness.
And with the words they learn
They become sage with same amount of sadness.
I often find it difficult to persuade people that I came from the country of words, to the land of light, at least partly because there are so many brilliant Japanese novelists and poets. It seems to me however that so many of the best Japanese novelists and poets, and the most famous haiku poetic style -- aims to take us with words away from them, back to the things that say nothing.
In his acceptance speech for the Mainichi Newspaper poetry prize as summarized in the article from the same newspaper above, the poet describes his art in the following way.
"Through my art, the basis of my life has become living with the seasons, seeing things, feeling them, thinking them, and this has allowed me to see my environment (風景 scenery) in a different way.
By this means I have been moved ever more profoundly by closeness or affinity expressed by the trees, flowers, birds, earth, water, sunlight, the colour of things that live the power of the seasons along side with us. I think it is through the amazing affinity and closeness of these things that say nothing that people are given life and saved.
In this way, I think that it is fair to say that being a poet is the same as being a farmer who also reads the things that give breath to the days of the seasons. From days past the poet has been the farmer of words whose profession has been harvest sensitivity eating only the mist. I am very pleased to receive this prize for my collection of poetry which contains an almanac of one person's heart. "(My emphasis, Original Precis by Kouichi Ooi, Mainichi Newspaper, 2014/1/30 posted here)