I have had a love for Japanese haiku for a few years now, ever since reading a fictionalised account of Murasaki Shikibu's life by the author Liza Dalby. What I love about haiku is the apparent simplicity which hides an outstanding ability to express intense emotions succintly. Knowing a little about the haiku tradition, I realise that the seasons are of great importance to Japanese, to the extent that particular seasons have particular resonances (this is known as a kigo and is explained within the introduction for this small anthology).
THE MOON IN THE PINES is a simply beautiful book. The haiku selected are of impeccable quality and the colour pictures that accompany them are turly an added bonus. There is one especially that is apt to one of the short poems on the next page; the painting shows a butterfly amongst flowers and the haiku is as follows, "A fallen flower / Flew back to its perch / A butterfly" p.30-31.
One of my other favourite poems features the title sentence for the book itself. Written by Ryota, a perfect image of the moon and all the magic that it can conjure is captured within 3 lines:- "Through may showers One night, as if in secret The moon in the pines".
As a gift for yourself or another, this book is an absolute gem. The introduction gives just enough information for you to get a better understanding of the tradition of haiku, as well as maybe stirring a desire to discover even more of this deceptively easy poetic form. A lovely little volume. I shall not be without it.
Wow! I really didn't know what to expect when I bought this book, I was looking for a book of Japanese Ukyio-e prints and this definitely succeeds. It has many traditional Japanese works and not the more obvious ones such as Hokusai. Many depict the Japanese farm landscape, some floral and some of women with lovely poems that go alongside each image.
The pages and pictures are of a high quality. All in all a beautiful book.
A feeling of zen definitely washes over you while flipping through its pages.