Poetic inspiration

While we may associate short forms of poetry, specifically haiku, with Japanese literature, finding hashioki inscribed with a Japanese poem is actually rather rare. Iroha, described in my Poetic Cue post from January 2016, is an exception rather than a rule.

However, this coordinating pair of hashioki does feature a poem. The eBay vendor who IMG_2395sold me these hashioki translated the writing on the hashioki on the left as “Happiness is full in a calm mind,” and on the right as “A guide to a beautiful spiritual mind.” I don’t know if this a famous poem or saying in Japanese, or why it might be appropriate to inscribe it on a hashioki.

 

IMG_2397This hashioki reproduces a few lines from a poem by a poet named Mitsuo Aida. While he is not well known outside of Japan, he is famous in Japan for both his Zen-inspired poetry and his calligraphy. I was unable to match these lines to some of Aida’s translated poems, but it has something to do with grass and flowers. There is a small Mitsuo Aida museum in Tokyo, and this hashioki may have been originally sold there.

So even though I’m not sure why these hashioki with poems exist, I think it’s delightful — and very Japanese — to elevate a mundane object like a chopstick rest with something inspiring and beautiful.

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