28 Basho poems on the experience of drinking and being drunk
12 There were three men living on Ghostcliff Island and as it grew late they came to visit my door of weeds. When asked their names by the one showing them around, they each said, “ Shichirobei” Ghostcliff Island” may sound like some nonsense of Basho’s mind but no, it’s an actual place name. In 1624 an island was built up in a river downstream from Basho’s hut and the next year Ghostcliff Temple built on it. The rest of the passage however is nonsense. The T’ang poet Li Po was famous for writing poetry while soused on rice wine. so with thoughts approaching Li Po’s poem on drinking alone, I write for my amusement In sake cup the Three Men drink up, moonlight party It’s okay if the headnote in haiku do not quite make sense; it’s all a fantasma of Basho’s inebriated imagination. The “Three men” are from a poem by Li Po, “Drinking under the Moon” – they are 1) The poet himself 2) His shadow in the moonlight 3) His reflection in the sake cup So, on Planet Reality, no one came to visit Basho. Some party.
13 Their engorged stomachs now subsiding, morning moon Sleeping then carousing old friends at O-bon Salary men return to their native place for the three-day Bon festival. With their old buddies, they eat and drink all night till their tummies -- like the full moon -- can hold no more. They take a break so they can absorb all that food and drink, their aching stomachs decreasing like the moon fading in the morning sky. They slept all day, then party some more. After several cups of wine. . . sadly past sunset The moon as long ago old friends now granddads The verse is filled to the brim with male sentimentality brought on by drinking sake with childhood friends in our old village where we grew up -- each one of us now with grandkids. Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly flow the years The moon is the same moon as long ago, but we sure have changed – as seen through the haze of alcohol in each of our brains. Even in dreams sake gives me a hangover Really? If I drink in a dream, I get the hangover in reality? Or is the other way around? I drink in reality and the hangover enters my dreams. Has any research been done on this one?